Monday, January 27, 2020

Who Would've Thought

Hands down my kids' favorite vegetables these days is Brussels sprouts. Which, by the way, I always thought were called Brussel sprouts not Brussels sprouts, but I was wrong. And then there's the question of why no does Brussels not have an apostrophe, but I digress. Anyway...

My kids love them. Like, love them enough to ask to have them for dinner. That said, they have to be roasted Brussels sprouts.  They asked my mom to make them once and forgot to specify the roasted part, and my mom boiled them. Talk about two unhappy teenagers. I think the word "ruined" may have been used to describe them, and as you can imagine, grandma did not appreciate that commentary on her cooking. For the record, she happens to love Brussels sprouts; boiled with lots and lots of butter. 

So, if you are looking for something new to try with your kids, give these a whirl. You might be as surprised as I was. And even if your kids aren't into them, you might be...

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

You'll need: 
  • About 1.5 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts (I use two mesh bags from Meijer to feed 4.)
  • Olive oil, maybe a tablespoon or two
  • Salt and pepper, OR your favorite spice blend (I like this one.)
What to do:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (about 205 degrees C.)
  2. Cover your cookie sheet or baking dish with foil for easy clean-up. (This is optional.)
  3. Peel off any outer leaves that look brown or wilty.
  4. Cut the bottom end bit off each sprout.
  5. Slice each one in half lengthwise. If they are bigger than a gold ball, quarter them. If they are tiny, you can leave them whole.
  6. Toss  the sprouts with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Use just enough to coat them. 
  7. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in a large baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle on your spices.
  9. Roast for 25 minutes or until they are slightly browned on the outside and tender in the center. (My daughter loves the blackened crunchy bits the best.)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Shoring Up

It's been a rough fall / winter on Mackinac. With the water at an almost record high and recurring storms, the shoreline has gotten pounded. 

MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) has shored up a few spots where the road has washed out, but they aren't responsible for private property.

Back before Christmas break my students and I noticed a barge near the school. Of course, we had to go out and investigate.

One of the water-front home owners hired the barge to drop boulders on their property. The hope is  they'll stop the erosion being caused by the extremely high water. I hope it helps. My husband tells me the Army Corps of Engineers predicts the water may continue to rise - up to an additional 18 inches. Yikes...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Back in the Day: Visiting Paris

Last spring, as I watched the news coverage of Notre-Dame burning, I started thinking about my visit to Paris. It took a while, but I finally managed to find a few pictures from that trip. It seems funny now, but I remember building money for film developing into my budget - enough for 10 or 15 rolls of film. At the time that seemed like so many pictures, but I took almost 1,500 pictures during the two weeks I spent in Iceland this past summer.

The summer I was 16, eight girls from my Girl Scout troop spent a month traveling around Europe. (We spent time in London, England; Paris, France; Munich, Germany; Venice, Italy; Salzburg, Austria and Adelboden Switzerland.) Our troop operated a Gift Wrapping Booth at the local shopping mall and believe it or not I managed to raise the $800 I need for the trip working there. (The trip actually cost $1,600 but my parents agreed to split the cost with me. I earned my $500 spending money by babysitting. Babysitting at $2.00 or $3.00 an hour no less.)

Nerdy uniforms, I know. But we only wore them on border crossing days. Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Gallagher traveled with girls every summer and they learned quickly that uniformed Scouts moved through customs much quicker than run-of-the-mill teenagers did.

I remember loving the gargoyles  up on Notre-Dame. My daughter is super envious of this picture. When she went to Paris a few years ago with my mom, they weren't allowed to touch them. 

As I look back on that trip, I feel pretty darn lucky to have gotten to visit before the fire...

Thursday, January 2, 2020


We were waiting for the boat to come home after Christmas break when my son noticed some smoke in St. Ignace. At first there were just a few little wisps but it didn't take long until huge black clouds were billowing out of the building. We quickly realized there was a serious fire on Main Street.

And I mean serious.  We stood on the bow of the Huron, in awe. I can't remember the last time I saw a fire like that - one that wasn't on a screen.

Luckily, the St. Ignace Fire Department, with support from both the Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island Fire Departments, quickly contained the blaze. There was smoke and water damage to the buildings next door, but thankfully the fire didn't spread. 

Scary stuff.