Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Drying Basil

If there is one thing I have never had any trouble growing, it has to be basil. Even here in Colorado with the fluctuating temperatures, I have about 10 sweet basil plants in containers everywhere that are all flourishing.

When Mr. LH and I are cooking, we'll occasionally run outside to pick off a few leaves. Sometimes we'll clip off an entire stem to keep in a mug of water in the kitchen.


But when the plants start growing faster than we can use it, I dry them. The first time I dried basil this summer, I pulled out my food dehydrator. But with the air here so dry and the temperatures above 90 degrees everyday, I discovered it was faster to just dry them outside. Besides, isn't that what was done back before food dehydrators were invented?

Freshly picked and washed basil ready for drying

I wash the leaves and place them on baking sheets lined with paper towels.

These basil leaves still have about another hour to go.
It only takes about 3 hours outside to dry them completely. And if it's an especially windy day, it's best to cover them with a weighted down paper towel.

Dried basil, ready to be stored
Once dry, you can place them in a container or plastic bag and crush the dried basil leaves straight into your meals. It's much stronger than store bought dried basil so go light on it until you get a feel for how much to use.



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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back To School

August 22nd marked the beginning of the new school year for the "Pickles". We had already attended The Boy's open house at his new middle school where he got to pose with the school mascot, the husky.


I was surprised The Girl's school wasn't going to have an open house. We wouldn't meet her teacher until they were lining up outside the school on the first day.

Our new schedule, with each of them in a different school, changed our routine a bit. The Boy didn't live far enough from the school to be able to ride the bus, but I was worried about having him walk the mile and a half across busy streets to get to school by 8:10 am, so I got the "Pickles" ready early enough to drive him to school. Then The Girl and I had about 15 minutes back at home to relax (or in my case, get a few chores done) before we headed off to her school.

We both still preferred walking the half mile to her school and I'm sure my body appreciated the additional exercise. We have 2 different paths we like to take, each with its own benefits. On the 1st day of school we followed the path along the greenway but on the 2nd day of school, we chose to cut across a greenway and follow the roads. We came across a beautiful sunflower plant in bloom (they seem to grow wild along many of the roads here) and The Girl insisted I take her picture.


While The Boy was a bit nervous about starting middle school, The Girl was very happy to go back to school. She's my little socialite...




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Monday, August 22, 2011

Moving Day

Elder Boy had enrolled at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, Colorado. His girlfriend would be attending nearby Colorado State. We had spent many nights trying to convince him it would be better to attend a school closer to home, at least financially, but he wouldn’t hear of it. Needless to say, he had been looking forward to this day for a long time. He was finally going to get out from under “oppressive rule” and be able to do things his way. Little did he understand the responsibilities that awaited him with his own apartment, his own bills, work, school, car maintenance, etc.

We left in 3 vehicles, Elder Boy in the loaded down Jeep (a gift from his grandpa so he could get around) and Will and I caravaning in the other 2 cars. We had all his worldly possessions as well as a few bags of groceries. I couldn’t help but think that when I first moved off to college, my stuff all fit in the back of a van. When I moved later to Florida, everything fit in the back of a small pick-up truck.

We drove through previously unexplored (by us) territory up I-25 to Fort Collins. It seemed to be the only direct route into northern Colorado and unfortunately, because of that, was plagued by tons of traffic. We found ourselves trapped in 8 miles of bumper to bumper traffic due to rubbernecking at a motorcycle accident on the other side of the highway. What should have been an easy hour and a half trip took closer to 2 ½ hours.

Elder Boy’s new apartment was in a nice complex but it was on the third floor. While lugging the piles of assorted things up all those flights of stairs, we decided it was a good thing he didn't have a lot of furniture. Thankfully, there was a lot of help from his roommate’s family as well.


After getting him (somewhat) settled in and (somewhat) unpacked, we said our goodbyes and left him in independent bliss. We had a long trip back and the “Pickles” were starting to announce their hunger.

We had noticed on the way up to Fort Collins a couple of Cracker Barrel restaurants along the way and since it had been over a year since we had been able to enjoy the sawmill gravy and hashbrown casserole of Cracker Barrel (not to mention browsing the store), we decided to stop there for lunch.


It was just as tasty as ever! The “Pickles” got to play a game of checkers on the front porch and we even found glass bottles of Cheerwine in the Country Store.

Once back at home, things returned to normal. Having Elder Boy away at school didn't seem to make much difference. He had always spent his time out with his girlfriend so we never saw much of him before anyway.  However, we noticed we didn't have to monitor the level of Diet Coke anymore. He wasn't around to drink it all.



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Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Red-Eye"

The Girl captured a bug she lovingly named "Red Eye".


She was quite upset that I insisted she let it go free and wanted me to take their picture together so she would "always remember him".




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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Baking Biscuits

I was trying to use up some leftover chicken tonight while making dinner but kept realizing we were out of a lot of things. I'd been putting off a grocery store trip until it was closer to the first day of school and now...well, we didn't have anything. So I wound up making chicken stew...in August...when it's friggin HOT outside (and inside with no AC). Still, it was tasty.

To go with the stew, I thought about making some biscuits (it was a little late in the day to make homemade bread). It has been many many years since I've made scratch made biscuits, but I wasn't worried about it. I had the recipe on hand for Mile High Biscuits (The name comes not from the location of their creation, but because they rise so much when baking). It has probably been 30 years since I first made these. I thought it was a good time to teach The Girl (since she's been in such a baking mood this week).

I taught her how to cut in shortening with a pastry blender and let her mix up the egg and milk (apparently the egg is what makes these biscuits rise so much). The Girl loves to take over the stirring - especially when there is an egg involved. She added the egg and milk mixture to the rest of the ingredients...


...and started stirring. I had to take over the stirring after awhile. Her idea of "soft dough" and my idea of soft dough are very different. In fact, she told me we needed to add more milk because it was too hard to stir.


She was especially excited to find out we were going to knead the dough. She hasn't done much kneading before and her 7-year-old arms are not quite ready to tackle a hefty ball of dough so I would knead a few times and then let her knead a few times until we had a soft, pliable ball of dough.


Then came the rolling. We actually rolled the dough to half the thickness we should have since the only cutter I could find was pretty thin.


After she rolled the dough, she cut them out and placed them on the baking sheet.


After that, she completely lost interest until the biscuits came out of the oven and were on the dinner table. They were scrumptious!


The biscuits didn't rise as much as I remembered them doing. That could be because we had rolled them thinner than called for but it could also be because we were at a higher altitude. Not sure which, but it sure didn't affect the flavor.



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Growing Up and Moving On

Elder Boy moves into his own apartment this Saturday and starts college and a new job Monday. I’m actually looking forward to it, but at the same time I worry.

Does he realize the responsibilities he has taken on? Does he understand the money, time and dedication required to do what he is proposing to do? Probably not. I told him a long time ago I would supply everything he needed until he graduated from school. The things he wanted would have to come second and he would need to save his money for them. He never saved. In fact, he is still in awe of his little brother who, at eleven years old, has saved hundreds of dollars and still manages to not spend it.

He does, however, understand the freedom he will gain – or thinks he will gain. Since he has turned 18, and even before then, we have been extremely lenient with him. He came and went pretty much as he pleased as long as he went to school, did his homework and wasn't beating down the front door at 2 am because he had forgotten his key. He is, overall, a good kid so I wasn't too worried about this. I am worried that he consistently chose what he WANTED to do over what he SHOULD do.

Now he’s moving into his own apartment. He will no longer be living by our rules, instead trading those in for the rules of his landlord (who won’t be so lenient) and the expectations of his new roommate.

He will have to learn to budget his money – something he has never been very good at.

He will have to wake up ON HIS OWN – another thing he has never been good at.

He will REGULARLY have to do his own grocery shopping, his own cooking, his own cleaning and his own laundry.

With all of this, he will still have to make time to concentrate on his college grades.

We've discussed credit, money, banking, bills, pay schedules, etc. with him but I don't think much has really stuck with him. He got the same talk from our insurance agent when we got him signed up for car insurance (for a Jeep his grandpa was nice enough to let him have). I'm not sure how much of that conversation stuck with him either (his mind was probably just on driving the Jeep later that day).

We've been saying "trial by fire" around this house for a long time when talking about Elder Boy. I'm worried his "wants" will once again win leaving his "needs" in the dusty trail behind him. If only he'd give more thought to his future...



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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cheerwine Cake

Before coming to Colorado, I mentioned how I was going to miss having unlimited access to Cheerwine and Krispy Kremes (though we later found out we have a Krispy Kreme about 30 minutes from the house).


A wonderful friend of mine contacted Cheerwine and found out you could purchase it from their website (though the shipping, even un-inflated, would be hefty because of the weight). She also sent me a Cheerwine Cake recipe to add to my cake collection.

When we arrived in Colorado, we had with us a case of Cheerwine, compliments of another friend. That original stash has since run out, but on our recent trip to North Carolina, we bought plenty and requested that Mr. LH's parents bring it with them on their drive out west last week.


With our top cabinets now full of bottles of Cheerwine, and the "Pickles" back home from their extended vacation, we decided to make the Cheerwine Cake to celebrate. And of course, The Girl put on her apron ready to help me make it. Oh, YUM!

Cheerwine Cake 

Cake:
1 box Devil's Food cake mix (I've used Pillsbury, Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines and they all work just fine)
Cheerwine (replaces the water in your cake mix directions)
1 tsp. almond extract

Make your cake following the directions on the box (including oil and eggs, etc) except substitute Cheerwine for the water and add 1 tsp. almond extract.

Frosting:
1/3 cup Cheerwine
1/2 cup butter (I use salted)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Heat Cheerwine, butter and cocoa together until mixture comes to a boil. Pour mixture over powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Stir in almond extract. Mix in chopped nuts. Cool slightly. Spread over cake.


We have since found out you could purchase a 4-pack of Cheerwine in glass bottles at Cracker Barrel restaurants.



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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Easy Pastry Lesson

When I mentioned I found a recipe for a Shortcut Cheese Danish, the first thing The Girl asked was "What's a danish?"

I told her it was a type of pastry. "What's a pastry?" she asked.

"Something yummy and sweet. Do you want to help me make it?" She immediately grabbed her apron.

I love cheese danishes so when Pillsbury's Facebook page had a link to a blog with a quick and easy cheese danish recipe, I had to investigate. The shortcut, of course, was crescent rolls.


They are not the most healthy thing you can make, but they are easy, they are fast, they are yummy, and I had a great time making them with my daughter! I think once the weather cools and we can have the oven going for longer periods, The Girl and I might try to make more difficult cinnamon rolls or croissants...maybe even danishes from scratch. But for now, these work like a charm!

Check out the rest of The Country Cook blog for other yummy goodies!



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Coffee Break

We had a coffee maker with a self-timer and no carafe. The coffee maker had a reservoir that held the brewed coffee until you pushed your mug up to a button. It would then dispense the coffee directly into your mug. Sounds nice, right? It was nice...until we realized that it didn't work well for tall mugs or mugs that had a dark interior (you couldn't see the coffee level in your cup until hot coffee was spilling out everywhere). It also didn't work for unusually shaped mugs. As time went on, it made more of a mess than anything else so we decided to look for a new coffee maker. We spotted several that we liked but didn't want to pay the $70 price tag for one.


One trip to the thrift store solved that. I found a never-used Mr. Coffee coffee maker (pieces were still in plastic) out of the box with the self timer, an automatic shut off and a stainless steel carafe. It was 50% off day so I bought it for $7.50!

Retail Price: $69.99
My Price: $7.50



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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Their First Fourteener

When Mr. LH's parents drove out west to bring the kids back from their vacation, they arrived a couple days early. This gave us time to relax and do some sight-seeing before they headed back to North Carolina. We decided to take a trip into the mountains. I kept my mother-in-law company at Blackhawk while Mr. LH took his dad and the "Pickles" to Arapaho National Forest and Mount Evans.

The Mount Evans website states: "Mount Evans is the road into the sky. Drive from 8,700 feet at Idaho Spring where you turn off Interstate 70 to 14,240 feet to the summit, and you will pass through 3 life zones, passing ancient trees, lakes and forest to the land above timberline. It can be 90 degrees in Denver and 40 degrees at the top of Mount Evans. Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep will greet you as you climb to the top of the world."

They stopped first at Ponder Point in Arapaho National Forest...


...then moved on to Echo Lake.


When The Boy gets near a lake or river, he wants to start throwing rocks into it. He picked up a large boulder and SPLOOSH!...into the water it went. Unfortunately, there was someone fishing nearby.

At the Mount Evans Entrance Station, I'm sure they breathed a sign of relief that we had packed the jackets. We learned pretty quickly to always have jackets in the car when heading to the mountains. On this particular trip, it might have been a good idea to pack the gloves and toboggans, too!


It was, in fact, 83 degrees in Denver (the first "cool" day in a long time).

Mr. LH told me I would have loved the view but hated the road up to the top. He was probably right. There was no guard rail, the edges of the pavement were crumbling, and it looks as though there is nothing below for thousands of feet. That being said, I can't imagine how hard it is to keep the road as good as it was with fluctuating temperatures and inaccessibility for half of the year.


The remains of the Crest House at the top looked like an interesting place to explore...


From the Mount Evans website: "During the summers of 1941 and 1942, Denver Mountain Parks built the Crest House (also known as Summit House). It quickly became a favorite destination of Coloradans and tourists. Containing both a restaurant and a gift shop, one could enjoy excellent food and buy Mount Evans souvenirs while enjoying an excellent view of Denver and the eastern plains. Unfortunately, it burned on September 1, 1979 and was not rebuilt, but the rock foundation and wall remain as an observation platform and a windbreak for mountain travelers."

The Girl , having to explore every restroom everywhere we go, had to make her way past big horned sheep to get to this restroom. They were hanging around the parking area licking the ground (apparently getting minerals from the soil).


While Grandpop stayed at the parking level, Mr. LH and the "Pickles" climbed the remaining 130 feet to the summit...


...and conquered a "Fourteener" for the first time (not including airplanes, of course). They made it to 14, 258 feet above sea level.


They came pretty close to a Yellow Bellied Marmot up there...


The Girl liked it because it looked like a cross between a beaver and a ferret.

On the way back down the mountain, they found some mountain goats grazing among the boulders...


...and paused at Summit Lake. This area looks absolutely breathtaking to me! Here it is, August, and there is snow on the cliff and wildflowers in bloom at the base. Beautiful!


I was happy to keep my mother-in-law busy, but seeing the pictures they brought back from their mountain excursion, I wish I had been there, too. Maybe next time (soon)!



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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Adams County Fair

With 2 other nearby county fairs having come and gone without me even showing up for a corn dog, I was determined to go to the Adams County Fair. We found out about it on the news during the last 2 days the fair was going on (we noticed that most county fairs here don't last nearly as long as the Dixie Classic Fair). Although the Pickles wouldn't be with us to enjoy this fair, I looked forward to being able to take my time walking through the exhibit halls rather than waiting with them in long lines for the rides.


We decided to go on Sunday, the final day. And with afternoon temps in the nineties, we decided we'd wait until later in the day to head toward Brighton and the fairgrounds. We reached the fairgrounds around 6pm and still had to wait in a long line of cars to pay our $5 to park. I didn't mind though. I was able to enjoy the scenery at the park next door.


It looked like a great place to take a stroll or walk the dog when there wasn't fair traffic going on.


Once parked and in the fairgrounds (free admission), Mr. LH and I  took a self-guided tour through the Midway to check out the rides and food available. There was a pretty good selection of rides available and they had all the old food favorites - corn dogs, cotton candy, funnel cakes, various meats on a stick and deep fried Twinkies (and Snickers and Milky Ways). They were even selling beer and (seriously) mixed drinks - something I wasn't used to seeing at a county fair.

We stopped at a petty zoo area so I could pet a calf and then we headed over to the exhibit hall. It...was....CLOSED! Doors locked and everything! It was only about 7pm. The fair was to last until 10pm. What the...


So we headed over to the animal stables. Aside from a couple horses and "Freightliner" the 1000 lb hog, the stables were empty. Hmmm...

We then went to the Children's Pavilion when a man outside announced he had "just closed up." At about that point, I decided I didn't want that corn dog so much any more. It was to go with the whole "fair experience" and so far there was no experience. Just a crowd of people wanting to ride rides and eat. We decided to eat elsewhere.

Lesson learned: Do NOT wait until the last half of the last day to go view the exhibits at the Adams County Fair. In fact, just to be safe, I don't think we'll be attending ANY fair on the last day from now on.

On the way home, Mr. LH decided to "explore". This means there was a good chance we'd get lost, but it was also a great chance to find possible neighborhoods and towns where we'd be interested in living later.


Just south of the fairgrounds, between Brighton and Commerce City was a fantastic sunset view. I kept taking pictures hoping to get one without a swath of power lines running through the frame. The sunset was enough to spur Mr. LH into heading further west for more photo ops...


We didn't get lost, but we went all the way to Boulder before we turned around to head back home for dinner. Thank goodness Ruby Tuesday kept serving until 10pm.



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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fried Ice Cream

I love to eat Fried Ice Cream. The first time I tried it was 21 years ago at a Mexican restaurant in Winston-Salem, NC. It was the real thing with a crispy fried honey-drizzled crust covering a center of cool, creamy vanilla ice cream. I've ordered the dish many times since then, and sometimes I've been served a ball of ice cream rolled in corn flakes. This "shortcut version" wasn't bad, but it was a treat to find a place that served Fried Ice Cream that was actually FRIED.

The finished product!
The last time I ordered Fried Ice Cream, as I shoveled each delectable spoonful in my mouth, I thought "How hard could it be to make this?" There had to be a recipe somewhere that I could try and everyone in the family loves to eat it so why not try to make it at home? That evening I searched and immediately came across an Emeril Lagasse recipe on FoodNetwork.com. With a 5-star rating and 21 reviews, I knew this would probably be a safe recipe to try.

I wanted to try this recipe before the "Pickles" came back from their cross country road trip with their Grandmom and Grandpop. They were already in Mississippi and I was running out of time. I thought if the recipe was a success, it would be a wonderful surprise for them one night. If the recipe bombed, they wouldn't know what they were missing.

There is a lot of freezing time involved in the process so this was definitely not a last minute dessert (though I suppose you could have the ice cream balls coated and frozen ahead of time to save time at a later date).
First, I made my crumb coating. The recipe says you can use crushed frosted flakes and a combination of coconut flakes, chopped walnuts and crushed cookies. Many people suggested vanilla wafers. I used frosted flakes, graham crackers and animal crackers (I had the animal crackers on hand and didn't want to have to go buy cookies).

The next step was making the ice cream balls I placed large scoops of vanilla ice cream in bowls lined with saran wrap. Gathering up the ends of the plastic, I was able to squish the ice cream into solid balls. The recipe says to freeze the ice cream for 2 hours at this point but one reviewer stated it was easier to get the first crust coating applied while the ice cream was still a bit soft from forming them into balls. So I applied my first coating and froze the balls for 2 hours.


The ice cream balls were frozen solid when I pulled them out of the freezer for their first egg wash. I used a tapered bowl for the egg which made it relatively easy to coat the ice cream balls in the wash. Still, it was a bit messy coating the balls again in the crumb coating (but I've never been able to coat anything without making somewhat of a mess). The ice cream balls went back to the freezer for another hour.


I have to admit I was worried I'd wind up with melted ice cream floating in hot oil, but with so many reviewers having had success, my fears subsided a bit. I did coat the ice cream with a third layer of crust coating just in case.


Although the recipe states to cook the ice cream balls in hot oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, many reviewers said 15 seconds was PLENTY of time. Although I know Emeril Lagasse is a great cook, I usually go with what the reviewers say. But 15 seconds didn't seem to do anything to these. In fact, the ice cream balls, cooked one at a time, were actually in the hot oil for about 45 seconds to one minute. Still, though they did cook, they weren't crunchy as I had hoped.


I drained the finished ice cream balls over a paper towel, placed them in dishes, drizzled them with honey, sprinkled them with cinnamon and garnished with whipped cream and a cherry. They were delicious! As I mentioned, I had hoped for a crispy crust, but other than that, these tasted like the real thing. I remembered why we always split one in the restaurants, too. They were so rich and sweet that I think next time I'll leave off the honey.


Additional Notes:
  • I did consider trying Honey Bunches of Oats cereal instead of the frosted flakes and cappuccino wafers instead of vanilla wafers. I think either substitution would be yummy so it's something I'll probably experiment with later.
  • It's possible the graham crackers are the culprit as far as keeping the crust from becoming crispy. I found another recipe that used graham cracker crumbs and a big reviewer complaint was the non-crispy crust. I'll leave them out next time.



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Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's That Time Of Year Again...School Supplies

Every year it's the same thing. I look through the list of school supplies my children need and wonder how this list is even compiled (this is NOT the full list)...
  • 5 boxes of Kleenex - my entire family doesn't go through 5 boxes of Kleenex in a year! And can we send in a different brand instead?
  • 12 spiral bound notebooks - Please! The Boy brought home at least half a dozen of these at the end of the school year with only a few pages used out of each one! Now he alone needs a dozen of these for 6th grade.
  • 72 SHARPENED pencils - What does a 3rd grader need with 72 pencils in the first place. And I don't have a handy electric sharpener at home. Am I supposed to have a "pencil sharpening party" and hand everyone a handful of pencils and a little sharpener? At least the 6th grade list just said "Pencils" which I interpreted as "Make sure your child has a pencil every day."
  • Dividers - I never, not once, saw the dividers I purchased last year dividing anything in their notebooks.
  • 2 Boxes of Dry Erase Markers - Are these going to be used by my child or by their teacher? I only ask because I find it hard to believe that in a class of 20 children, the teacher is going to need 40 boxes of dry erase markers (that's 160 dry erase markers if everyone buys the SMALL box). I also find it hard to believe that one child will go through 2 boxes in 9 months.
One child HAS to have a Trapper Keeper (or equivalent) and the other child needs a binder that is NOT a Trapper Keeper.

On top of all the supplies, they HAVE to have an agenda ($5), they HAVE to have a class t-shirt for field trips ($10)

One year in NC, each child was required to bring in a full package of Avery labels. I later found out the labels were used as labels for their folders and supplies (a single Sharpie would have taken care of all that) and as name tags - a new one every day for the whole year. Really? It took that long to learn each others names? Couldn't they just make one laminated name tag for the child to wear every day?

I realize the schools have a budget and that budget gets smaller as the economy tightens. But that economy is the same one the parents have to deal with. Our household budgets tighten and don't allow for the ever increasing portion of school supplies. Do I still get everything on the list? Yes. But if I send in a box of gallon sized bags that are not Ziploc brand, I don't want to hear any crap about it - or they can send them back. I'll use them at home.

I really wonder what the school budget was when I was in grade school. I needed a notebook, pencils, pens and paper. At one point I needed a protractor.

Out of curiosity, I looked up NC school budget 1986 in Google and came across a site that gave budget stats (though it did NOT go as far back as I was searching). Interestingly, the only Per Pupil Expenditure drop I found was for the 2009 - 2010 school year (down $212 per pupil). This doesn't show specific cuts made throughout the years to administration, transportation, etc, which would have an impact on the overall education our children receive, but it was interesting to see the numbers.

Per Pupil Expenditure in Average Daily Membership (Current Expenses Only) 
1999-2000 $6,280
2000-2001 $6,654
2001-2002 $6,696
2002-2003 $6,741
2003-2004 $7,006
2004-2005 $7,328
2005-2006 $7,596
2006-2007 $8,017
2007-2008 $8,522
2008-2009 $8,663
2009-2010 $8,451

I then looked up Colorado - specifically the Cherry Creek School District. I could only find the budget for the current year and the previous year.

2010-2011  $6,742
2011-2012  $6,402

I know that the Cherry Creek School District runs fewer buses than NC (larger population in a smaller area), but we're looking at $2000 less per student! And the Cherry Creek School District is THE desired district in this area.

Luckily, the "Pickles" don't need their book bags or their lunch boxes replaced. They still have their markers and colored pencils from previous years. Tristan still has his flash drive from 5th grade and we still have a huge stash of glue sticks from a fabulous Back To School sale a couple years ago.



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Fresh Garden Tomatoes in BLTs

I planted Roma tomatoes this year specifically for Mr. LH's pico de gallo and his pizza sauce. But when the "What do you want for dinner?" conversation turned to BLT's with freshly harvested tomatoes, we snagged a couple Romas for the sandwiches.


We discovered we didn't have any regular bread around (since the "Pickles" haven't been here) so we decided to use our stash of hearty grain rolls instead, slicing them and toasting them in the toaster on the bagel setting. YUM!



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