Wednesday, January 1, 2020
How to use this blog...
I will tag all pages with the labels listed on the right. So, if you are only interested in running, for example, you can come and click on the *running on raw food* label and you will only see those posts. If you are looking for recipes, you can click on EITHER the *good eats* lable OR the *good eats* page. If you want to do some shopping, you can check the *creative endeavors* page for items I have designed or the *thrift store* page for gently used items for resale. Paypal account required for both :)
So pull up a chair, grab a cuppa something and browse...come back often as there will be lots to read and look at!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Put pans into the oven for about 10 minutes. Then, turn the oven off and open the door. We left our crayons in the oven to cool so we didn't mix the colors while they were liquid. They need to sit in the pan until completely cool, then you get these:
Fun, no? :)
We enjoyed it. We are going to give some with homemade art journals to a few friends/cousins :) in a little bag.
I also did some baking this week. I made the brown bread again, but this time I added 2 eggs and it made it less dense. MUCH better, I think. Dense is good, but the addition of the eggs made it a more versatile bread. I also made some cookies...the oatmeal I made before, and...
Chocolate Mint Chip cookies ala Martha Stewart
I added a bag of mint chips to this recipe, though the original recipe did not call for them.
2c plus 2T flour
3/4c dutch cocoa powder
1t baking soda
1 1/4c butter, room temp.
2c granulated sugar
2 arge eggs
2t vanilla extract
1 bag mint chips, optional
Sift together flour, cocoa, salt and soda into a bowl. In separate bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanila and beat until combined. Reduce speed, then slowly add flour mixture(and chips if you are using them) and beat to combine. Form dough into a flat disc, and cover with plastic. Refridgerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form dough into 1 1/4 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 mins. Let cool on sheet for about 5 mins then transfer to a baking rack to cool.
You could also add crushed candy canes to the recipe if you fancy...:)
Today, we are making PB Kiss cookies...but you will have to wait for that recipe!
We have had a dusting of snow here, which the kids are playing in. Lilly made snow angels on the deck ;) and JD has been snowboarding down our back hill. Silly kids. I can't wait until we get a REAL snowstorm!
The chickens are not minding the snow/cold so far...which is pretty encouraging. I have been taking out extra treats/food for them to give them something warm to eat once or twice a day on the colder days as well as having the kids go out and poke through the ice to make sure they can get water. We also have been keeping an eye on Domino the Rabbit who lives outside now...she seems pretty content out there, though I am thinking she misses having free run of the deck. Well, rabbit...when you not only eat the deck but also the HOUSE you get what you get. She has extra hay in her little cubby and Hubby built her a shelter to protect her from the wind/rain/snow. We have to switch her water out more oftn as it freezes quicker! We are only getting about 3-4 eggs a day, and I decided to not light the coop for the winter. I know it can increase egg production, but I figured I'd let Nature take its course and let the chickens do whatever works for them.
School is moving right along. JD is having a bit of a challenge with Math right now, so we are spending some extra time practicing multiplication /division. He is doing really well with his reading and phonics though! Lilly is doing wonderful in math AND reading/phonics and is writing ALL the time. She is making cards, lists, etc and loves to read books. Max is...well, Max. He does his thing!
We are still working on Habitats and most likely will throughout the rest of the month. We finished Danny Meadow Mouse in the Burgess series, and are now on to Jerry Muskrat. We have really been enjoying these books as they are SUPER for learning about animals and their habits in the wild...in story form. We have had numerous conversations about deer, mice, fox, etc based on things we have learned in these books so far. :) Poems are continuing, we are sticking to the 2 we started this month as they are proving a bit more difficult to memorize! I will post pics next time of our art 'class' as well as other xmas/holiday crafts...
We are hosting the co-op Holiday party which is celebrating all December Holidays...we are doing Solstice and will have a craft and snack. We will cover xmas, Channukah and ??? Should be a good time :) Also hoping to get in some skiing with our neighbor-friends which is nice as the moms are slow, and the kids are fast...at least we will know they are together as a group, lol. I need to get pics of that... :)
I am thinking of some winter canning, quilt-making and an adventure in all things bread for next month. That is...if I make it through this one!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I made 2 loaves of brown bread, 4 loves of cranberry awananda bread and A LOT of chocolate cupcakes! I figure its better to spread out my baking instead of baking 15 things in one day, like I usually do lol. I have MANY cookies to bake so I figured I would get started with something easy like bread.
Want some recipes? I know you do :)
One Bowl Chocolate Cake
This is a Martha Stewart recipe. It is super easy, and my go-to cake recipe. I cringe over the amount of sugar used but hey, its cake! I made cupcakes for a friend's b-day and ended up with LOTS! This recipe is supposed to make 2 9 inch rounds, and for us it made 36+ cupcakes.
1 1/2c unsweetened cocoa
1T baking soda
1 1/2t. baking powder
1 1/2t. salt
1 1/2c water
1 1/2c. buttermilk (I used yogurt, which I watered down slightly)
1 1/2t. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put everything into a bowl and mix until smooth. Pour into greased pans/cupcake pans and bake cake for 35-45 mins(test after 35 mns) and 25 mins for cupcakes.
Easiest Brown Bread Ever
I used to use a recipe from a dear friend of mine to make brown bread...until I found this one. OMG, it is SO simple and makes perfectly dense molasses-y bread.
2c flour(ww, white or half and half)
1c pastry flour(you must use this)
2t baking soda
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, molasses and raisins. Stir batter until completely mixed. (I found it was easier to just use my hands)Dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky. Divide dough into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 1 hour.
Cranberry Anadama Bread
This recipe is somewhat more involved, and it is helpful if you have some knowledge of baking bread from scratch. SO worth it though as it is a very hearty bread that is great as toast or as sandwhich bread.
2 1/2c water
2/3c stone ground corn meal (I use Bob's Red Mill)
4T butter(I used olive oil)
2 1/2t salt
2T dry yeast
1/2c warm water
1/4c plus 1/2t sugar
1 1/2c cranberries(fresh is better, but frozen is ok too)
7-8c flour(I always use King Arthur)
Bring water to a boil in saucepan. Lower heat to medium high and slowly add cornmeal, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Cook until thickened, about 5 mins (should look like oatmeal in consistancy) Add molasses, butter and salt and set aside to cool down. (I put mine in the fridge, as I am not patient)
Disolve yeast in warm water and add 1/2t of sugar.
Process cranberries in FP with 1/4c sugar just until berries are chopped ans sugar is mixed in.
Once cornmeal mush has cooled, add it to the yeast mixture along with the cranberries. Mix well, then gradually start adding flour. Once the dough becomes difficult to stir, dump on to a floured counter and start kneading. You want to continue to add flour and knead until you get as close to 7-8c flour as possible, and the dough should not be sticky and should be somewhat elastic. If you press your finger into it, it should bounce back. This process should take somewhere around 10-15 mins, depending on how good a kneader you are :)
Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size. Then take dough out of bowl and knead it a few times to get the excess air out. At that point you can divide the dough into 2 sections(I actually did 4 and still got full sized loaves...just sayin'...) and shape into greased loaf pans. Cover pans with a towel and let them sit for another 45 mins or so, until the dough rises to the top edge of the pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 45 mins, or until the tops are nicely browned and the bread makes a hollowish thud when you flick them. Cool on a wire rack.
SO worth the effort!
School is continuing along, with our December 'agenda' :) We will be starting our Holiday readings next week in prep for our holiday co-op party which will be celebrating several December traditions. We always read T'was the Night Before Xmas as well as the History of Saint Nick(great read, btw...I recommend it!) We will also be doing some *extra* crafting 'round here for gifts and such...but that will be in the next post...
Now, we are off for our first ski of the season! School is postponed until this afternoon... :)
Monday, November 29, 2010
We had a great time at our co-op Charlie Brown Thanksgiving! We watched the movie and recreated the meal, which the kids loved. Then it was outside to run and play. The kids get along SO well together and really include everyone. Even though we are new-ish to the group, the kids all act like they have been friends forever. Its so nice. One other family is part of the chicken world too, so we were able to talk chickens for quite some time, lol.
Speaking of chickens...we seem to be out of the woods as far as chicken casualties are concerned. We thought we might lose our sweet little Buddy as well, but she has rallied and is laying the CUTEST little blue eggs every other day like clockwork. Our other girls are through their molt and laying again as well, so we are back to getting 4 or 5 eggs a day. Finny is now laying this gorgeous olive green egg, where before she molted they were more pastel green...interesting!
Our wild bird friends are here, as we have put out our feeders for the winter....we LOVE to watch all the birds that come. We also have an owl 'couple' that come nest in the yard during the winter and last night they were VERY vocal! Some nights they wake us up chattering to each other...the cats enjoy the birds as well, and will spend their days in the window seat watching the birds eat...I am sure plotting how they could get at them... :)
I am down to my last 2 jars of tomato sauce... note to self: plant MORE tomatoes next year! I knew we wouldn't get through the winter on our sauce, but it was great to have it as long as we did. All our fruits/preserves will get us through until spring, along with all the things I froze. I am learning how much I need to plant in order to have enough to eat AND save. I will definitely be expanding the gardens next year! I am hoping to put up a small greenhouse as well...I have been looking at some plans...I just need to talk to Hubby and see what he thinks would work for us.
On the school front...
We are starting our December poems, which will be When All the World is Full of Snow by NM Bodecker and Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost(one of my ALL time favorites!) I usually do T'was the Night Before Christmas too, and I may, but that one they don't remember...or they didn't last year. This year they actually might be able to remember the whole thing!
For Art, we are coming in to the Patterns and Mosaics section. Very cool. I am thinking of having the kids do some mosaic picture frames for the pics we will give to family this year. It would be a fun craft to do plus it will tie in to what they will have learned. I am so impressed with JD's participation in the art 'program' as it really isn't his *thing* however, I really think it will help with his dexterity and writing skills...which are not the best.
For Nature Study and Science, we will be working on animal habitats and what affects them. This comes at a perfect time for us in real life as they just completed a logging project out behind our woods that has impacted the local animals that live there...which we have seen the results of. The kids have a real-life situation to compare to what they will be learning. We will hopefully have a chance to get out and do some animal tracking before it snows to see what animals live near us, and I am planning to have the kids create some sort of 'display' of the local habitat we share with the animals around us.
Our Nature table will be transformed for winter, and we will decorate it accordingly. We have been collecting acorns and pinecones for a winter project, and may use the extras for our winter 'scene'...and, unbeknownst to the kids, I wanted to take an old dollhouse we have that is rarely used and add it to our Nature Table and have that become part of our display. Except....we will need a bigger nature table, lol...
History will be Egypt and associated civilizations, as that seems to still be on the table as an interest for the kids. We are also reading Native American Short Stories by Joseph Bruchac, which are great stories about Native American life with a built in lesson...like a NA version of Aesops Fables :)
I am also going to re-introduce some Spiritual pieces that have fallen by the wayside including some prayer/ceremony and meditation...I have some great kid's books on meditation for kids as young as 5 and well....I have at least 2 pretty intense kiddos who could certianly use it as a way to ground and get centered!
In household news...
I am bound and determined to get our last 2 rooms painted. I will hopefully pick up the paint this week and get 'er done. We usually have a holiday party in December and it would be nice to have it done by then. Can't say the curtains, and various other sewing projects will be done but if I could get the painting done...I also need to get the playroom/schoolroom floor done...seems the cats think it is an appropriate place to pee as they can smell the prior owner's cat smell....I need to get that floor sealed and painted as to eliminate that issue, thank you very much. Until then, the room has to be kept closed up, resulting in it being VERY cold in there! I think I can get it done :) Then its just curtians and a new couch cover and Phase One of our home remodel will be complete! Which isn't to say I won't STILL have eleventybillion projects left to do....
Well, that's the update from the mountain! (which has been making snow and now has 3 trails open! To say my kids are excited is an understatement...)
Monday, November 22, 2010
I thought I would start off by sharing some of the cool blogs I follow:
This gal posts the BEST crafts, amongst other things :) http://themagiconions.blogspot.com/
I also love this blog http://ahandmadelife.blogspot.com/ I actually have a bunch of sweaters cut up into squares to make a patchwork wool blanket! Some great recipes here too :)
I simply enjoy everything this gal posts...it doesn't hurt that she has a bunch of cool chickens ;) http://chickensontheporch.blogspot.com/
LOVE these gluten free recipes. O.M.G. http://nourishingmeals.com/
You MUST follow this blog! You can follow them on FB too...tons of free give-aways, coupons, etc. Fabulous! http://tipsforgreen.blogspot.com/
Good things abound here! More freebies and give-aways, along with recipies and tips. A must! http://turning-the-clock-back.blogspot.com
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Well, Home and Garden first :)
We have made it through a good chunk of our remodeling projects. The living room/dining room/kitchen are pretty much done sans some finishing touches, the deck has been completed, pantry done and front entry tiled. There are a few more painting projects to be tackled over the winter, and possibly a bathroom tile job if I can persuade the Hubby...I am thrilled to be this far along and hope to get the few other things done over the winter as there are ALWAYS outdoor projects to be done!
The garden has been almost tucked in for the winter, as I am trying a new layering/mulching method that comes highly recommended from a dear friend for next year. Supposedly it is very efficient and low maintenance...which sounds great to me! I had my first go 'round with canning this fall and though I won't make it through the winter without buying tomato sauce, I will at least get to Jan 1 :) I have enough greens, jams and preserves to choke a horse, as well as LOTS of fruit frozen to make pies and muffins with throughout the winter.
Our chickens are doing pretty well despite the fact we lost 3 this fall. It was a hard lesson, but good for the kids to experience...the circle of life...They have all been very acive in the care of ALL the animals, which they have done on their own.(with only occasional prodding) I am grateful and appreciative of their help, as normally I do it all, lol, but they have really been stepping up and helping out. Its good for them :) All the other animals have been getting along fine, even our one-foot-in-the-grave kitty...we have decided she has more than 9 lives for sure.
We have been very consistantly been working every morning on our schooling. This seems to work best, leaving the afternoons for adventures, outings, or gettin' stuff done ;) Max has been MUCH more interested in school this year and we have actually used up all his 'practice' workbooks and are now dabbling in a bit of 1st grade work. Not too much, as I still want him to enjoy that 'kindergarten' age, but I also don't want to hold him back if he wants to go on. He loves math so we do practice adding and subtracting, basic phonics, letters and numbers...he has the same knack JD has for math so he often answers the older kids' math questions... ;)
Lilly is LOVING phonics. She loves to read and sound out new words, loves to write and draw. She is NOT loving math, lol, but is excited we have finally come to the 'money chapter' lol. The kids have been playing bank quite a bit lately in the course of their adventures. I am glad she will practice during play, as she really does not enjoy actual math 'work'. Sigh, I remember that...I was not a fan of math either. I try to find fun ways to learn it but secretly I totally understand- if you don't like math, you don't like math! I try to plan it for her to get her math done first so its over with and then she can enjoy the rest of her subjects. She LOVES word searches and crossword puzzles, and is very good at reciting poems!
JD. He is officially READING! We had been *warned* it could take years for him to master phonics because of the way he would need to learn it but earlier this fall something just clicked and he is doing SO well! Granted, he is not at grade level, but he is so determined to read and catch up. I am so proud of him! We do a good deal of his work orally as his dexterity is not the best so we save writing practice for practice and that way he is not falling behind in his learning due to taking so long to write. He is doing language arts, vocab and spelling and phonics adjusted, and doing quite well. He still loves math and is crazy good at some math but will hit a wall with other things. He has no trouble with multiplication and division of up to 2 numbers but when we get to 3 numbers x 3 numbers...the wheels come off! So odd! We are spending some extra time with that. He is also doing some geometry and algebra (concepts...its a really cool book that breaks down algebra into different concept activities...he LOVES it!) I am also encouraging him to draw more to help with his dexterity issues which seems to be helping...he doesn't love it but he will do it during our art time.
As a group, we work on science and nature, poetry and literature, art and history. I have this VERY cool new art book that gives 200 some odd different art concept/lessons that the kids really have been enjoying. (Hooked on Art by Jenean Romberg)We do a different concept each week, then add to it with the new lesson the following week. I will throw some art history in as well, as later in the book they make some refrences to famous artists which I will expand on.
I have been having the kids learn to recite different poems, though not the ones suggested by the CM curriculum, I still liked the idea so I found A Treasury of Poems for Today's Child which has poems broken up in chapters by season, holiday, animal, people, etc. Some I have seen before, some I haven't (well, most actually) The kids really have enjoyed this and though this is somewhat of a lost art, I love that they enjoy reciting poems. I am hoping to broaden this into them writing poems, etc. Though that is not a part of the CM curriculum until later, I could see at least Lilly taking a liking to that sooner.
For our literature piece, we will be doing fairy tales, most likely Grimm. The kids LOVED the Sisters Grom Series and I think they will get a kick out of the refrences and make the connections once we read some of the poems. I'd like to add in some Aesop's Fables as well, to lighten things up a bit ;) I am starting this after the holidays. For now, we have been reading books of their choosing, in addition to any we are reading for 'school'. We are still working on the Thorton Burgess series (currently on Danny Meadow Mouse). I was hoping to start the Little House on the Prarie series this fall, but they are SO hooked on the Thorton Burgess books we are on a mission to find and read them all. Little House will have to wait.
Initially we were reading about the evolution of man and society, but we have taken a temporary break as we usually read about/study the Pilgrims journey and various Native American tribes during November. We have done various readings on the Pilgrims, and also read about the Trail of Tears, Squanto, Chief Joseph, Pocahontas(the real person not the Disney character) as well as Sacagawea. We are going to learn about various tribes next which will take us through the end of November, and will end with some sort of creation depicting all that was learned on the Nature Table. We did this last year and the kids really loved it- they made cabins and teepees and set up a village for the pilgrims...I am excited to see what they will come up with this year.
Once we head back to evolution we will detour a bit again as ancient Egypt really caught their interest so we will probably spend some extra time on that, since we have that option :)
In Nature and Science we have been using these great textbooks(?) that give an overview of all things, well, science and nature! They are great at introducing topics which we can then go into firther...or not. The kids loved astronomy last year and we ended up spending A LOT of time on that and weather, this year it seems to be animal kingdoms and their various habitats. I ordered some great cdroms on biospheres, animal habitats and animal kingdoms a couple years ago (good sale...couldn't pass it up!) and we will be able to use them now...they have also been watching many of the documentaries on Netflix from National Geographics...Beavers is Max's current favorite. They have also been VERY fascinated with the show Verminators and Bizzar Foods...I can't watch them but I will say what I have *heard* is QUITE educational! The Bizzar Foods show is more than I can stomach but it is very cool in that the kids are learning what different types of foods people eat in other cultures, which is VASTLY different than what we eat. I will leave it at that. :)
Beyond that...lots of time spent outside, down by the 'swamp', and inventing various contraptions in the driveway. Lilly and Max played soccer this fall and LOVED it, Lilly is quite good and hopes to be on the travel team next year! JD(and Hubby) spent most of the fall biking with a group through a local bike shop, along with continuing to run (he is doing 2 races with me in the next 2 weeks!) Hanging with a new co-op this year that the kids seem to like as the kids are all around their ages, which is a HUGE bonus. Also met some new friends during soccer season including a family that lives right around the corner who homeschools as well, with 3 kids same ages as our family. They are huge hikers, and skiiers and we are very much looking forward to many afternoons of skiing this winter! (the kids skiing, the moms trying to keep up, lol)
OK, I *think* I am caught up...and hopefully I will stay that way! Maybe I will even get some pictures up. Well, let's not get carried away...
Friday, September 24, 2010
We are using The History of the World book for History right now, and have started at the begining, learning about evolution. The kids are fascinated. I taught about the Big Bang Theory last year, and I also told them the religious account of what evolution was believed to be. I told them they could choose which *theory* hey wanted to believe. Jeffrey AND Lilly picked the scientific explanation because you could 'prove it'. :) We learned about Darwin and the 'survival of the fittest' and could apply it to our little world in the backyard...the kids know if we did not 'save' Cookie our special needs chicken, she would have died/been killed as she is too weak to keep up in the *wild* ...this was a great real-life way to explain what we were learning about Darwin's theory.
Science and Nature involves learning about Habitats, protozoas, and different plant kingdoms. We will be taking a BUNCH of hikes and collecting 'samples' of different plants by way of rubbings and pictures or leaves that have already fallen from the plants. We have done the parts of plants and leaves as well as my annual talk about why leaves change color, which is accompanied by the book Why DO Leaves Change Color? which is part of the Let's-Read-And-Find-Out-Science Series. We usually do some sort of craft involving leaves and this year the kids want to press leaves for their nature journals.
We are reciting the poem The Woodpecker, by Elizabeth Madox Roberts which the kids have pretty much memorized inside a week. I am very impressed at how much quicker they are at memorizing the poems since last year! I should challenge them to recite some of the old ones ;)
Spending lots of time outside, exploring and just general runnin' around :) There has also been an increase in Lego creating going on in this house! All three kids, together, have created some amazing vehicles to use in their 'world'...this is amazing on many fronts- first, Jeffrey does not usually play well with Lilly and Max, and he is not one for imaginative play. He not only has 'tolerated' his siblings, but has not tried to micro-manage them...too much. He is also participating in their imaginative play as much as he is able...which isn't much in the grand scheme of things but more than he ever has in the past. I'll take it!
In other news...
I froze 18 eggs worth of beaten eggs in smaller containers, hard boiled at least a dozen and we still have a dozen in the fridge...some of which will be used tonite for peach waffles. We know why we haven't been getting eggs from everyone...as we found we have ANOTHER rooster! Pickle is not only NOT a Bantam Dominique, HE is not a she! I was suspicious when SHE sprouted a beautiful tail, as girls tend to be a little light on the tail feathers of beauty. Then I checked her neck and sadlde feathers...pointed. :( Sure sign of maleness. He has not crowed yet, and is still getting along with everyone so...we'll just have to wait and see how it goes. He is a mutt, and will be a BIG chicken. He looks like the kind of chickens my neighbor up the street has...maybe I will stop by and ask them what they have sometime...
Well, apparently waffles don't make themselves! I better get on it!