Sunday, June 26, 2016

Movie and a Dinner


Red Cinemas | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Reclined in the Red Cinemas luxury seating
with our beer and wine, awaiting
the start of "Now You See Me 2."
One of the experiences on our summer checklist — a seasonal bucket list, if you will — was to see a movie at Greensboro's Red Cinemas and then enjoy dinner at Burger Warfare. We checked that experience off our list during Father's Day weekend. We intended to tackle either Zoofari or Hanging Rock that weekend, but neither panned out. So we took a gander at our list and realized we could easily fit the movie and dinner into our schedule. 

The purpose of seeing a movie at Red Cinemas was to take advantage of its luxury seating. But only a few auditoriums have luxury seating, so we checked the movie listings to see what was playing. It just so happened "Now You See Me 2" was playing in luxury auditorium six. 
Burger Warfare | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A giant war bot at
Burger Warfare

"Have we seen the first 'Now You See Me' movie?" I asked Hubby. 

"Yes, we watched it last year," he assured me.

"Are you sure? Isn't that the movie that Santa brought us?"

"Yes," he answered.

I countered, "Well, that movie is still shrink-wrapped. We haven't opened it yet. We haven't seen it."

"I promise, we all watched it."

"Well, I don't think so, but let's see the sequel anyway. If I like it, we can watch the first one. Kind of like as a prequel."

Hubby agreed to see "Now You See Me 2," but was adamant about our having seen the original.
Wall | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A "hole" in the wall
between the two dining
areas at Burger Warfare.

When we arrived, we bought our tickets and then headed to the concession stand. I ordered a glass of zinfandel and Hubby ordered a craft beer. The wine and beer selections are another reason we like this particular theater. 

Three minutes into the movie, I remembered first movie. We had seen it. We must have streamed in on Netflix, because the DVD Santa brought sat unopened in the movie cabinet. 

As we walked from the movie theater to Burger Warfare — the proximity of the restaurant and theater makes it a great date-night venue — Hubby mentioned he did not remember much of the first movie and suggested we watch it soon. I spent the rest of the walk recounting the entire plot of the first movie, while ignoring the fact that he was right — we had seen it already. 

We then stepped into a war zone. Not because Hubby was right about something, but rather because Burger Warfare is a themed, gourmet burger place with giant robot sculptures and canned war-type sounds periodically blasting out of speakers.
Return Trip | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My return to Burger Warfare to
retrieve my debit card. Lesson learned!

Not only was the atmosphere futuristically and whimsically fun, the food was fantastic. I couldn't quite finish my sweet potato bot tots, but I was somehow able to polish off my The Governator chicken sandwich. 

Adventures not only broaden our horizons, they teach us life lessons, too. Had I not inadvertently left my debit card at the restaurant, it would have been a nearly perfect outing. I learned a valuable lesson. Always check that you received your debit or credit card back from the server and put it back in your wallet before you leave the restaurant and drive home, especially if you live in another town in another county. A few days later, I had to drive back to Burger Warfare and pick up my debit card. That little adventure had me stuck behind a train cross arm on the way there, and then stuck in rush hour traffic on the way back. However, I was nothing but grateful. The Burger Warfare staff had immediately found my debit card and secured it in the safe until I could return.

One summer experience down. Eleven more to go. It's shaping up to be an interesting summer.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 

Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare


Copyright 2016 Michele Bare

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Experiences Checklist


Kayaking and Summer Fun | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Last year, I had the opportunity to kayak
in North Carolina's Intracoastal Waterway.
After that adventure, kayaking had to be
on our Summer Experiences Checklist!
Summer is just about to begin and, before it's already gone as typically happens before we ever do anything cool, Hubby and I decided to create a list. On it, we've included all the seasonal, fun things we want to do together over the next three months.

The idea stemmed from missing Valentine's Day. I was sick. But it was our 15th Valentine's Day, so I really wanted to mark it as a milestone occasion. Armed with a box of tissues and lots of chicken soup, I made out a plan for the next weekend, when I was sure to be healed of the ferocious virus that plagued my body. The plan included a checklist of 15 things Hubby and I could do together for our belated celebration. We spent the next Saturday checking off all the activities — which included a hike, a breakfast picnic, a museum visit, a sushi lunch, go carts and so much more — until we were pleasantly exhausted at the end of one of the best days we've had as a couple. We recorded the day's adventures with pictures that were posted in an album on my Facebook page.

While traveling back from a visit to the Northeast a few weeks ago, I pulled out my smartphone to make another list. This time, our adventure list was going to include all the fun things we hope to do over the summer. I believe lists are magical. They have the inexplicable power to hold us accountable to our intentions. After creating the list, I feel confident we'll actually make the time to do all of the activities we included. It certainly worked for us during our belated Valentine's Day celebration. 

Here is our list, which focuses on our home state of North Carolina and the many adventures and experiences it has to offer:
  • See the red pandas at the Greensboro Science Center 
  • Feed butterflies at All-a-Flutter butterfly farm in High Point 
  • Go on Zoofari at the North Carolina Zoo 
  • Master the new ropes course at the North Carolina Zoo 
  • Zipline in the North Carolina Mountains 
  • Eat at Burger Warfare and watch a movie in the luxury seats at Red Cinemas in Greensboro 
  • Pack a picnic and take a one-day beach trip to the North Carolina Coast 
  • Kayak on a North Carolina lake 
  • Hike at Hanging Rock State Park 
  • Go on a one-day shopping and lunch outing to Blowing Rock, North Carolina 
  • Visit one North Carolina vineyard we've never visited and taste wine we have never tried 
  • Visit one North Carolina brewery we've never visited and taste craft beer we have never tried 
By keeping our adventures in-state, we can support local tourism while getting to know our state better. Also, it makes every one of our planned adventures attainable. We don't want to break the bank, but we do want to have fun.

Our list includes a total of 12 things to do, which means we have to tackle at least four each month from now until the arrival of fall. If we can get a jump on the list over Father's Day weekend, we will, even though summer doesn't officially begin until Monday.

In addition to a personal Facebook photo album, I want to write about and post pictures of these adventures on this blog. I also challenge you to make your own list relevant to where you live. Copy as many ideas as you like. If your kids are not all grown up, make it a family adventure. Then, make a habit of going out and discovering all the great things to do near you — and take lots of pictures.

Our boys are older, but we will invite them to tag along with us when they're not working or otherwise engaged.

May you and yours have a happy, adventurous summer!

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare


Copyright 2016 Michele Bare

Sunday, June 5, 2016

3 Secrets to Homemade Lasagna for Fast-Paced Family Life


Years ago, we had lasagna only on the very rare occasion during which I had enough time to spend half a day cooking. All day if I didn't have any homemade sauce on hand. However, my family loves lasagna. They'll drag themselves away from video games and clear their busy schedules to eat it hot. They'll eat the leftovers. They don't even complain about what could be better about it. They just eat it.
3 secrets to easy, quick lasagna | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Layering: 10 minutes
Baking: 30 minutes
Less than an hour to lasagna perfection!


Here are my secrets to quick, it-still-tastes-like-homemade lasagna.

1. Sauce from a jar. I know, it's just not the same as the stuff you spend all day stirring until it reduces by half, resulting in a silky, thick liquid that could cure many of the world's ailments. However, if you can read labels, you can find a simple marinara containing only the 3 to 5 ingredients — the ones you would use to make it homemade, if you had the time. 

2. Pre-prep the meat. Had they a choice, my boys would want a sauce drenched in greasy browned ground beef. I use ground turkey, which I season when I brown it on a day I have a few minutes to spare in the kitchen. Then I put it in a container and refrigerate until it's time to make lasagna. 

On lasagna day, I shred mozzarella cheese, open a tub of ricotta, combine the sauce with the already cooked ground turkey and then open a box of lasagna noodles. Then it's as easy as layer and bake, which brings me to my last secret.

3. Oven-ready pasta. Up until this past year, I was not a fan of oven-ready lasagna. I assumed it would make my lasagna dish pasty and gross. But my lack of time to cook along with repeated requests for "normal food" like my lasagna prompted me to take a risk. 
Easy Lasagna Your Family Will Love | Navigating Heactivity by Micki Bare
My quick easy lasagna an hour after I
put it in front of my family.

There are two versions. I first tried the type that looks like normal lasagna noodles and takes an hour to bake. It turned out great. Everyone loved it. 

The next time I went to the store to pick up some oven-ready lasagna noodles, the store did not have the ones I'd used with success. What I did find was a flat, shorter version of oven-ready lasagna, so I threw caution out of my grocery cart and bought it. The flat, stubby noodles required four layers instead of three, but only needed 30 minutes of baking time. If my family liked it, I was going to switch. They loved it. My baking time for my quick lasagna was reduced in half.

That's it. These three secrets changed my outlook on lasagna. Now, the dish is no longer a holiday only menu item I dread. Rather, it's in the regular rotation on our household dinner schedule. The best part? Family meals during which all the boys end up at the dinner table at the same time have increased dramatically. I can honestly report that I have fallen in love with lasagna all over again. 

My Italian New Yorker grandmother, Granny, who worked full time throughout her adult life, would be proud.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Copyright 2016 Michele Bare