Thursday, May 23, 2013

Best Corn You've Never Had!

It is now perfect cookout weather. So I of course have to share my super awesome amazing corn on the cob. We look forward to this each year and corn on the cob is one of my kids favorite foods. Yep, you read that right. My kid's favorite food is a vegetable. All four of them.

This corn recipe is simple and once you try it the contest will be over. It will be the star of any bar-b-q and it will become the standard you compare all other corn too. That's a pretty big promise but this corn is awesome and I'm pretty sure you'll agree.

Now one thing you should know about me is when it comes to corn I am a bit of a butter fiend. I can easily go through half a stick of butter with just one cob. However with this method I use NO butter. OMG! I know I can hear your disbelief. I used to think corn had to have butter too. In fact the first few times I made this I still used butter on it. Until I realized it didn't really add anything taste wise.

Here's how you make it.

Peel back the husks while keeping them as intact as possible. I usually remove any ratty or really dry looking ones from the outermost layer but this shouldn't be more then a couple leaves. After you've carefully peeled them down remove the silk. I find it easiest to grab the nasty wad of silk at the very top and then pulling it off down toward my other hand and then away from the corn. This leaves you with not to many stray strands that you can quickly rub away.

Don't forget to wash it off now!

Now for this step I recommend being outside and not upwind of anyone you like. Sprinkle your corn liberally with lemon pepper. It might sound like an unusual combination but TRUST me on this. Rotate it as you sprinkle so you can get it on all sides.

Once you feel you have enough lemon pepper on your corn just wrap those leaves back around it. You don't need to tie it up or anything. It stays together just fine in my experience.

Now pop that sucker on the grill and grill it baby! You do need to watch these because if your fire is going high it can catch the leaves fire. This happens to us sometimes but it's easy to blow out and really you shouldn't be leaving your grill unattended anyway.

When you corn husks look about like the one above you will know it is done. Usually this takes around 20 minutes. If we are limited on grill space we cook the rest of our food first and then let this cook while we eat. Our new grill is a little larger and has a top rack to it so we use that for the corn and it seems to do well up there. The corn itself actually gets quite a bit brighter in color when it's ready too. You might be able to see that by the little bit that is peeking through in the above picture. I would have a finished pic for you but these puppies are gone as soon as they come off the grill. It was all I could do to take a picture of this one before pulling it off the grill and devouring it.

If you try this I would love to hear what you think. Please tell me. I'm good about replying to comments so if you have any questions then just ask. :-) 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wasp Lessons (Homeschool)

We found an old wasp nest over the weekend that was left over from last year. So of course the kids wanted to learn more about them. So I promised to teach them about wasps this week.

Okay let me first start off by saying that there are little to no lesson plans out there for wasps. I find this rather sad. When I looked for butterfly lesson plan ideas there was no shortage. I know wasps sting and are generally considered a nuisance but they are still an important part of our world. So this is going to be a post to help out other homeschoolers who like to pick a focus for their children.

Basic wasp facts:

There are over 20,000 different species worldwide. They have the normal insect structures of head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have 6 legs (3 on each side). They also go through a metamorphosis just like moths and butterflies. Their life cycle goes through egg, grub, pupae, and then adult. However not all wasps have wings, not all of them sting, and not all of them live in social colonies. They vary in their diets from species to species and based on age. Wasps hibernate during the winter in colder climates. Some cultures eat wasps (specifically the grubs).


Some plants are entirely reliant on only wasps for pollination. For example fig trees. Although all sorts of wasps pollinate all sorts of different plants. Another benefit wasps provide us is reduced numbers of other insects. If you don't like spiders then many solitary parasitic wasps are your friend. A great number of solitary wasps lay their eggs either on or in spiders and insects they have hunted, stung, and brought back to their nest.


Wasps nests can be very diverse. There are wasps that build their nests out of paper or mud, and also those who burrow into the ground.

Eating Habits:

Wasps eat nectar, honeydew, fruit, and other insects. Depending on the wasp and depending on what stage of the life cycle they are in. If you are interested in more specifics in this area then pick a category of wasps and research it further. There is to much information on this topic for me to go into much more detail about it here. It is fascinating though and worth learning about. Just don't google wasps and fruit or you might see some things that will make you think twice about grabbing an apple straight off a tree. Or any fruit for that matter.

Interesting fact:

Wasps actually have facial recognition and each wasps has it's own unique variance in face and pattern. These differences may appear small to us but to them it lets them differentiate between each other and know who is friend or foe and who is who in their own colony. Don't believe it? Check out this link here for an interesting article and a real picture of some of the facial differences between a group of wasps. The above link talks about the facial aspect of this but not the pattern in stripes. The stripes are something I personally have noticed as being different between wasps within the same species. You maybe able to find an article about it somewhere if you wish but I don't know where. If you find a link please feel free to share it.

There is a lot more to learn about wasps but this is a good starting point for children I think. Just please be sure you impress that there is a difference between wasps and bees. I'm not sure why but a lot of people don't seem to get that. I'm sure there will be a bee lesson here soon though. ;-)

Suggestions on wasps you should research with your kids. Some of these are general names for a larger family of wasps:

Velvet Ants
Cuckoo Wasps
Cicada Killers
Paper Wasps
Mud Wasps
Giant Asian Hornet
Garuda Wasp (newly discovered and kind of scary looking)

Here are some links with ideas for games for small children:

Kids Wasp Activities
Wasp or Bee Activities for children

I also happened across this blog after we already did out lesson of course. I felt it was worth mentioning as there is some good info there and it shoes how empowering it can be for kids to learn about something even if it's something they think is scary at first.

So how do you feel about wasps? Did this change your feelings for them at all? Is this lesson at all helpful to you? 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Charlotte dress

I stumbled across a fantastic blog the other day that had some beautiful sewing tutorials. I'm sure a lot of you have already heard of it. It's named craftiness is not optional. The dress I made from her was the Charlotte dress. It's an adorable little dress with lots of possibilities for customization. I didn't do a lot to change this dress. However I never fully follow any tutorial or pattern. I've tried but for some reason I must always change something. 

So with the Charlotte dress I left off the bottom band and I removed the sleeves. Although I must say the sleeves she has on it are just darling. My real reason for leaving the sleeves off was not by choice. I was going to make it with them but I misplaced one of the sleeves while putting it together and could not find it. I could have cut another piece but I was past the cutting phase and I hate having to go back to cutting after I already began sewing. :-P 

So this is the front on my beautiful smiley model who loves the camera.

....and the back..... well sorta side shot. As you can see this picture was snapped as she inspected the floor for any possible crumbs that I have not yet swept up after lunch. My kids are very messy generous eaters. By generous I mean they like to share (with the floor and their clothes) at every possible opportunity.

So what do you think? Do you think it's still cute without the sleeves?

If you'd like to use her pattern please check out her blog here. Maybe tell her how you found her. If you'd instructions on how to adjust the pattern to leave off the sleeves then just let me know here. I may have missed it but I don't think she talks about leaving the sleeves off. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Caterpillars to butterflies

Our caterpillars turned into butterflies! The kids were delighted. Although I am sad to say that only 7 of the 10 made it to adulthood. The kids loved getting up to check on them each day to see new butterflies emerging. I didn't know this but they actually have some sort of red fluid on them after they emerge. Our "butterfly pavilion" has a bunch of bright red liquid stains that are sort of creepy. I always thought of butterflies as being rather clean but this adventure has me second guessing that idea.

Ember wasn't thrilled about releasing them. She started crying because she was going to miss them. We reminded her that they are living creatures that need to live free and in the wild though and the tears soon turned to giggles after watching our winged friends discover a bright new open world.
Nothing quite like the magic of holding a living butterfly in your hand. 
 Everyone was very gentle and did a great job.
 Unfortunately I had a blurry spot on my camera lens that I didn't notice until after this pic.
Even Wren found the butterflies thrilling.

Have you ever done the mail order butterflies? Did they all live? I'm curious to know what other people's experience with them was.