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A Weekend With Mr. Excuse Me

January 5, 2010

Remember Mr. Excuse Me?

I hosted him again this weekend.  And guess who he brought with him?

His sock monkey, Yardstick!

It really warmed my heart to see that he brought Yardstick back.  I knew we had a lot of fun at Sock Monkey Saturday, but to see him still interacting with his monkey means that I’ve given him a memory he’ll treasure for life.   My efforts are paying off.  Yay!

Friday night we had a meal worthy of my late Gram.  She died when I was 8 years old, but I have warm memories of family meals together at her home in Navesink, NJ.  It’s the same house where my dad grew up (with only ONE bathroom!  That they all had to share! That boggled my mind as a kid.  How spoiled am I? ).  I loved visiting her and exploring the attic with my dad’s and uncle’s old books.  The basement had a unique smell and was filled with my late Pop’s woodworking tools.  I still have a small table that Pop made.

Anyway, Gram would host Sunday dinner for a bunch of us.  The cousins would play together while the house filled with tangible evidence of her love.  It smelled like a grandmother’s house should: like roasts or baked chicken with potatoes simmering.

I tried to recreate that last Friday with R.  I used this recipe.  I made sure to substitute chicken broth for the wine, because as you may remember R does not like wine flavoring in his food.  Of course I totally forgot that R also does not like mushrooms, but we managed to work around that.

If you have time, you should make this recipe.  It is simple chickeny goodness and so easy to put together!

*I had forgotten how good chicken smells while baking.  I mean, let’s face it – how often is a single girl going to make a whole huge dinner for herself?  And I cannot remember the last time I cooked chicken on the bone.  Tender and juicy – oh my stars!  Bye bye boneless chicken breasts.  I’m converting.

By the time dinner was served, R and I were both anticipating greatness.  And this dish did not disappoint.  It completely evoked Gram.  No flashy spices, no surprises, just honest chicken seasoned with salt and pepper.  So good that R went back for THIRDS!  (And he had to eat one mushroom with each serving.  ‘Cause I’m tricky like that.).  We rounded out the meal with green beans seasoned with Old Bay – R’s request.  He’s a Maryland boy through and through.

If Maryland had a State Spice, it would be Old Bay.

The rest of the weekend included a trip to the Walters Art Museum, a jigsaw puzzle, a trip to the library, and a homemade bookmark craft using felt and lots of different embroidery threads.  Of course I forgot to take a picture of that one.  We then used the new bookmark to start this book.

I loved these illustrated classics as a kid!

R does NOT enjoy reading.  It’s a struggle to get him to do his daily reading time.  I’m hoping that reading to him might give him a greater appreciation for books.  So I read to him every chance I get.  Just trying to show him love.

Kind of like my Gram.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. debby permalink
    January 5, 2010 12:35 pm

    LOVE that he brought his sock monkey back! You are doing some seriously good work in this world, Juice.

    Okay, have to address this statement ‘I mean, let’s face it – how often is a single girl going to make a whole huge dinner for herself? ‘ Like, every night? I mean, I don’t always do the whole chicken and rice thing (that is a seriously good sounding recipe) but I do cook a lot of stuff like that . Then just divide it into individual portions and freeze–voila! ‘tv dinners’ for work. I admit that I cook too much, and then have too much left over in the freezer. Trying to correct that this year.

    I used to make a chicken and rice thing that was SOOO good–used orange juice and mushroom soup. Think you could use this recipe and sub orange soup for something or other and avoid the mushroom soup altogether. Yum yum. I”m getting hungry as we speak!

  2. Juice permalink*
    January 5, 2010 1:17 pm

    Ok, ok, I do cook a lot, but they tend to be stews / soups / chilis / casseroles / crock pot stuff that I can freeze in individual tupperwares. I do the same as you Debby with “TV dinners” for lunch at work.

    Somehow or another doing a big hunk of meat (any kind of roast or roasted chicken) seems like more “serious” cooking to me. As does baking chicken. I don’t know why…

  3. January 5, 2010 9:59 pm

    Love that he’s still lovin’ his sock monkey. I don’t know why you are hosting him (respite care for foster parent?) but I know he won’t ever forget you or what you’re doing with him…sounds like you make great experiences happen.

    • Juice permalink*
      January 6, 2010 12:13 pm

      Pendy, you hit the nail on the head. I’m a licensed foster care provider and I focus on providing respite care. Respite can either be a planned weekend (giving the child and foster parent a much needed break) or it can be unplanned (a child who has just been pulled from a unhealthy family situation, or a child in transition between two foster homes). Planned weekends give me a chance to really focus on making a fun memory for a child. Unplanned respite breaks my heart, as it is usually precipitated by some type of trauma or allegation of abuse. Both types of respite are much needed – I hope more people will consider becoming licensed!!!

  4. January 6, 2010 12:07 am

    You’re awesome!

  5. January 6, 2010 4:35 pm

    Ok, I’ve been an absent blogger for a while now. Sorry ’bout that, but unless I’m at work, I don’t want to be anywhere near a computer.

    So here’s my unsolicited two cents on the kid not enjoying reading. Here’s the secret that will change his life… he just hasn’t found the type of book he likes. (Ok, so I’m sure you’re not totally blown away by that revelation.)

    Remember when I was a kid and everyone always said, “Oh you don’t like reading.” Bad. Very bad. First, it stereotyped me in a way that was (1) wrong and (2) forcing a false belief into my head. Indeed I learned I really enjoyed reading once I discovered NON-FICTION! Who knew there was a whole world out there in which books existed that didn’t have to do with frivilous nonsense that never really happened? I was 13 before I figured that out (trip to Bethlehem library, picked out a biography which was mostly speculative on Molly Pitcher’s life). It was instant love.

    So, I really think you should explore that with this kid further. Ask what he really likes or wants to know more about. Get him a sport-specific magazine (like motorcycles or football) and really pique his interest.

    Sorry. Off my soapbox now! Just a little passionate on this issue… that’s all…

  6. January 8, 2010 5:49 pm

    That recipe looks delicious! I’m printing it out and giving it a try.

  7. January 12, 2010 12:30 am

    ok, i am requesting the receipe of the green beans with old bay… i bought one when i visited my in laws and never knew how to use it. so it has been just decoration in my kitchen!

    • Juice permalink*
      January 15, 2010 10:01 pm

      Here is the “recipe.”

      1. Cook green beans.
      2. Add butter (I guess this is optional for some people, not for me).
      3. Sprinkle with Old Bay to taste.
      4. Put Old Bay cannister on table so that crazy children can add more.

      Hope that helps!

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