Booking Across the USA – Virginia

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I am so excited that I have the opportunity to take part in the Booking Across the USA series, and as a proud Virginian I am overjoyed that I get to represent my beautiful state….

Edna Lewis Virginia Strawberry Shortcake


Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You Apple Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis

By Robbin Gowley

Edna Lewis was born and raised in Freetown, Orange County, Virginia. A farming settlement that was founded by her grandfather and two other emancipated slaves. She became an accomplished chef in a time when it was extremely unusual for a woman to be a chef, let alone a black woman. The book “Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make you Apple Pie” follows Edna’s family through the seasons as they plant, harvest, and preserve food on their small family farm.

I chose this book for several reasons… It’s a wonderful book about a famous Virginian, February is black history month and Edna Lewis is a great example of a pioneering African American woman, and finally because we are coming up to planting season here on our farm in Virginia and I felt it would be a great way to get Big B excited about planning and starting our garden.

At the end of the book there are 5 recipes (strawberry short cake, corn pudding, apple crisp, pecan drops, and nut-butter squares) that include fruits and vegetables that are harvested during the book. Big B loves strawberries and I am a bit of a sucker for strawberry shortcake, so I decided that we would do the strawberry short cake recipe after reading the book…

Strawberry Shortcake


  • 7 cups of strawberries (1 of these cups will be used for garnish)
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Whipped Cream:

  • 1/2 pint heavy/whipping cream
  • Sugar to taste


  • 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk


  1. Rinse and hull the strawberries. If you have large strawberries half or quarter them. Sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar. Allow the mixture to stand for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Booking Across the USA Virginia 8
  2. Chill heavy whipping cream in the fridge. The instructions call for you to put the cream in a metal bowl, but we do not have one, so we used a glass bowl.
  3. Set oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Grease a baking sheet with butter
  5. In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, cut-up butter, baking powder, and salt. Lightly process until the mixture resembles coarse meal and lumps the size of peas. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  6. Add milk and pulse until the dough is just mixed. Do not over process.
  7. Scoop dough out of the processor (once blade is removed) onto a floured surface. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  8. Gently pat the dough into a 4×8 rectangle. Handle the dough as little as possible in order to insure a fluffy shortcake. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  9. Dust a knife with flour and cut the dough into 8 squares. Place the squares onto the greased baking sheet.
  10. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkled with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry shortcake
  11. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the squares are golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  12. Whip the chilled heavy cream with an electric beater. Add the sugar until you reach the desired sweetness.
  13. Serve by splitting the shortcake. Spoon a generous helping of the sweetened berries over the bottom half of the shortcake. Cover with the second half of the shortcake and top with the whipped cream. Finally garnish with the fresh berries.

Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake

Seriously.. How amazing does this look? And it tastes just as good.

Here is a complete list of all the blogs that are participating in this series:

Alabama: Everyday Sanpshots

Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days

Arizona: Simply Kinder

Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas

California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom

Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now

Connecticut: The Teacher Park

Delaware: Mama Miss

Florida: Teaching Stars

Georgia: Fabulously First

Hawaii: Teaching With Style

Idaho: True Aim Education

Illinois: Growing Book by Book

Indiana: Teach Preschool

Iowa: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary

Kansas: KCEdventures

Kentucky: Chicken Babies

Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog

Maine: Maine Adventure Mom and Country Fun Child Care

Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes

Massachusetts: Mama Smiles

Michigan: Play DrMom

Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory

Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

Missouri- Ready. Set. Read!

Montana: The Honey Bunch

Nebraska: The Good Long Road

Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts

New Hampshire: Elementary Matters

New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing

New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

New York: What Do We Do All Day

North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog

North Dakota: ND HealthWorks

Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog

Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten

Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher

Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time

Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade

South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom

South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory

Tennessee: No Monkey Business

Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen

Utah: Teach Beside Me

Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog

Virgina: Once Upon a Story and The Freckled Homeschooler

Washington: Home Learning Journey and Boy Mama Teacher Mama

West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me

Wisconsin: Reading Confetti

Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle

USA: The Corner on Character

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My Family’s Love of Bob Shea

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There are a lot of children’s book writers that we love, but few as much as Bob Shea. There is something about his writing. Maybe it’s because he has the same dorky sense of humor as my husband and me. Maybe it’s because I feel like it’s a requirement that I read each book with extreme enthusiasm… which I love! Either way my whole family enjoys Bob Shea.

It all started with Oh, Daddy!. I purchased it when Borders was going out of business a few years ago. I knew nothing about Bob Shea at the time, but it looked like a cute book. It quickly became Big B’s favorite book. He asked for it at both nap time and bedtime every day for at least six months. He had it memorized, and I would hear him “reading” it to himself over the monitor when he was suppose to be sleeping. A short while later Big B was picking out books at the library and he found Dinosaur vs. Bedtime. It was the first book we read when we got home, and Big B was instantly in love. That night my husband pointed out that Dinosaur vs. Bedtime was written by the same person who wrote Oh, Daddy!, which made perfect sense, they shared the same cute illustrations and quirky sense of humor… and that is when our love for Bob Shea truly began. In our house he cannot go wrong.

If you want to check out Bob Shea, and we think you should, here is a list of his books (images will take you to Amazon)


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Great Children’s Books About Nutrition

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Big B and I have spent the last week checking out piles and piles of books from our local library. I have been on the hunt for books that I could read to him about nutrition. I searched our library’s site using terms like “food,” and “nutrition.” I even looked for other lists online… and I found there weren’t a lot of good options out there. Books that were touted as “good nutrition” books featured children who wouldn’t eat their veggies and that STILL wouldn’t by the end of the story. Some were even stories about how children hid or got rid of their veggies so their parents thought they were eating them, and while a lot of these books were cute it really wasn’t the message I was trying to send.

Big B loves reading, and loves having books that go with our lessons. So, I was on a mission to find good children’s books about nutrition. The following is list of the truly good nutrition books that I found. I promise by the end of each the kid eats their veggies!

(Click on the image to be taken to the book on Amazon)

This has been one of my favorites so far. It features a fruit or veggie for each letter in the alphabet. It’s beautifully illustrated and Big B has really enjoyed looking through it. One of the great benefits of this book has been that Big B has shown interest in trying the fruits and vegetables in the book that he hasn’t heard of… that might be a different story once they are in front of him, but it’s worth a try.

This book is a great example of why you should try something before saying you don’t like it. If you are having a hard time getting your child to try new foods read them this book and explain that if he never tried the green eggs and ham he wouldn’t have found out that he liked them!

This Eric Carle book is beautifully done. It takes your child through the entire process of making a pancake; from gathering wheat, eggs, milk, making butter and finally cooking. This is a great way to show your children where their food comes from!

This is a sweet book is about a little pea that doesn’t want to eat his dinner of candy but does in order to get his veggie dessert!

In “The Monster Who Ate My Peas” a little boy learns a lesson about making deals with monsters who offer to eat his peas.

A dramatic little boy tries to convince his parents that he can’t eat peas because they will turn him into a monster!

This Eric Carle book takes you through a week of food and is set to a song.

I hope your little one enjoys these books as much a Big B did!

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The Best Baby Books

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I have always wanted my kids to have access to books, even as infants, but that seemingly endless phase where they put everything in their mouths made it hard. When Big B was an baby I searched everywhere for baby books that he would not destroy with his drooling, because even board books fall apart when chewed on. At the time all I was able to find where cloth books, but they did the trick and both children have been able to enjoy them.

When I was pregnant with Little B I came across Indestructibles through a friend. Her son loved them. They have the look and feel of a book but cannot be destroyed. Indestructibles are wonderful and they explain why right on each cover… “They are chew proof, rip proof, non-toxic and 100% washable!” They are also filled with beautiful, brightly colored images. Little B loves them. They are her current “go to” toy.

So, if you want to surround your children with books that they can actually handle from a young age consider some of the following suggestions.

There are lots of Indestructibles to choose from and they are very reasonably priced. Here are a few of our favorites:

(Click on the image to be taken to the book on Amazon)

Indestructibles get Little B’s seal of approval!

Here are a few cloth books that I would recommend:


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