Funny, or sad, as it may be, I don't recall ever seeing anyone prepare dried beans. So...I gave it try. We eat a lot of pasta,which I like because it is easy and versatile, though I'd like to have something just as versatile but more hearty. I let a pound of beans soak all day while we were away at work/school, and I must say that I was impressed by how much water the beans absorbed.
When we got home in the afternoon I let the beans simmer for about an hour and a half. For dinner I enjoyed some beans with garden fresh greens, sauteed mushrooms from last week's farmers' market, and pickled peppers.
While the beans simmered, my younger son and I walked to the library to pickup a book I had reserve. One of the things I enjoy about where we live is the close proximity to our town's parks, waterways, and the library. And the library is real gem - when we moved here the library was housed in a musty room on the second floor of the Town Hall. In 2006, a new library was built. The new library building is very open, utilizes natural lighting quite well, and is heated and cooled by geothermal heat pumps. I really wish our house had geothermal rather than an oil burning furnace.
The library also has a nice children's section that offers many activities throughout the year.
After dinner, the boys wanted to go "camping." And so we did...in the backyard. We do this a few times a year. And each time it is fun to point out the night sounds to the boys that they ordinarily don't hear from the comfort of their room.
I haven't taken my boys on a deep-in-the-woods camping trip. But I think my four-year-old could handle it now. And so I shall look for a quasi-nearby place that could offer a "wild" experience.