Posts Tagged ‘ food ’

Monster Sandwich


The 3rd year of the Renaissance Festival in Tampa

Life sure has been busy; I’ve been away from things for quite a while.  Going to night school, being a single father, and working fulltime take their toll.  I was fortunate enough to be able to take kind of a working vacation recently so I do feel a bit recharged; however, I am ready to be done with my school courses.  Last weekend I took my children to the Renaissance Festival here once again (this is our 3rd year in a row).  We had a blast.  My son found himself (now that he is finally a teenager) ogling the girls, and my daughter and I had fun playing with all the medieval toys and puzzles.  We spent almost seven hours there eating, playing, and watching all the amazing shows.


The Knights were awesome, they had full contact jousting, breaking their lances on each other and smashing their swords into their opponent’s full plate mail.  We watched as their Clydesdales around the arena also dressed in full plate armor.  I was selected by the King and Queen to pose in the “Men in Kilts” calendar, so if I end up making the cut I will post the link to purchase them on my blog here.  Overall it was an amazing experience.  I love how I am building multi-year traditions with my children; I feel that this will be a cherished memory by both me and my kiddos.


Last weekend Photos

Nevadog on Being a Single Father

What does being a father mean to me? I have spent my life as a professional soldier in the United States Military and continue to serve my country in other capacities since leaving, and for me, all my military accomplishments, all the honor and the glory I have seen in battle, in my 2 years deployed to Iraq, all my efforts.  They all pale in comparison to being a good father.  I strongly believe that even alone as a single male I am capable of raising my children to be healthy and to understand what a healthy relationship entails.

I strive to set goals for us as individuals but also as a family unit, goals like our fishing trips, the 5k we ran as a family team, visiting their great-grandfather (my grandpa), I set these goals and help accomplish them so that in time my children will have lasting memories of what a good and healthy childhood is.  In my time with them I push them farther than they realize they can accomplish, I do this by listing to NPR in the mornings, explaining to them what is going on in the world news and then asking them questions.  I am often astounded when they ask me more questions back.  They are INTERESTED when I give them data, when I give them problems to solve and when I create challenges for them to complete.  They are amazed when they create stuff, both in the kitchen and in the woods.  They love it when I tell my stories and make fiction for them to be immersed in.  Telling stories is such a rich and rewarding part of my days with my children, both for them and for me.

Not everything they do is without fault.  I have to play the bad guy at times too.  Allowing them to have consequences for their actions (both good and bad) and watch as they suffer through those consequences.  For instance, I have found that my son (who is 12) has such a better time reflecting on his actions when I ask him to write me a paper on respecting his family, or on treating his sister better (or whatever it happened to be) because it causes him to reflect and actually write from his heart rather than give his cop-out answers like, “I wasn’t paying attention,” or “I didn’t mean to”.  For my daughter letting her know (she is 8 ) that I am ashamed or hurt by her makes her realize just what she did was wrong.  Both of my children are very mature and very different emotionally in how they act and how they react and I love both of them for their individuality.

I write this not to brag, not to boast, simply to show that anyone (even a broken and at times lonely and sad army vet) can be a good and wonderful father.  You just need to pay attention and to show love.

Tarpon Springs Greek Sponge Docks Moto Ride

So I got up this morning and thought it was such a lovely day (albeit a cold one) for a motorcycle ride.  I got my gear on, and set my sights on a trip south of Tampa on I-75, across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and on over to St. Pete.  From there I took Hwy 19 north towards Tarpon Springs.  Before going to the Sponge docks I stopped at a Greek flea market and looked around for a bit then spotted an Antique car show as I was riding by so of course I had to pull a U turn and check out the muscle cars.  From there is was on to the Sponge Docks of  Tarpon Springs.  At a place called Hellas I ate some Saganaki and a Gyro, took a couple pics and headed home by going just a little farther north on Hwy 19 and then over to Hwy 41 all the way home.  Here are some videos and pics of my trip.  Enjoy

Click Here for the Pics!!!

Making Food with my Children

Wednesday night I took my kids to the store and we bought some heavy whipping cream, some pure vanilla extract, and some organic sugar cane sugar.  You see where I’m going with this?

As I began to cook dinner I asked them if they wanted to help me make some home-made whipping cream and brownies to go with it.  They of course, were ecstatic.  They fought and bickered over the turn to mix first.  Little did they know that I do not own an electric mixer so with a wisk I had them take turns whipping the cream until it formed some nice soft peaks.  Well you may not know this but it took the 3 of us about an hour to finally get it done.  Heavy cream has this magical nature to go one minute from a liquid to the next into this delicious whipping cream.

We also made butter that night.  Fresh butter where we put some heavy cream into a sealed container.  I had my kids take turn shaking it.  That change was even more dramatic.  Watching their faces as they saw it go from a frothy liquid to a complete solid and some milk.  we opened the container and saw a complete separation of the butter and the milk.  I poured the milk into a small glass and let them both taste it.  It was delicious and we added a pinch of salt to the butter and that too was delicious.

One hour of my time and my kids now have this incredible memory of creating something delicious by themselves.  It is very rewarding to know as a child that you have the potential to succeed like that.  I just wanted to share this story with all of you because it was a wonderful night for us and any other parents out there (single or otherwise) may want to try this little easy thing with their young ones to create a delicious snack that your kids can take pride in having created through a little hard work.

Breakfast, Soccer and Manatees on the Weekend

So here are the pics from my weekend with the kids, some breakfast, soccer, and manatees on a Single dad weekend with my kids:

Homework and dinner

Yeah, so as a single dad I end up grilling out quite a bit.  For tonight it was burgers with some colby jack cheese but unfortunately I forgot to get buns.  Luckily I had some rye bread handy.  Kids learn to enjoy all kinds of food when you introduce it to them in a way where they have to try it rather than offer them easy ways out.  I don’t ever use white bread and my kids love things that other kids don’t, like avocados, muscles, and artichoke.

My son was in the middle of doing his homework and I had to convince him to smile (by threatening to post a sillier picture of him instead of this one).