Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pictures, recipes and crafts...oh my!

We have been busy here by the mountain. With the Holidays on the horizon we have been trying to get everything ready and in order. I am typically a fairly organized person but...for some reason xmas always sneaks up on me! Cards have not been mailed, I am stil struggling with the xmas picture, gifts have not been mailed....oy! But, we have our tree up and decorated (a 10 foot tree, no less! Yay for high ceilings!) I am almost done with my shopping and I am actively getting cookies made and frozen :)
AND we have been a crafty bunch here :) Wanna see? We decided to make crayon cookes ;) Cool and fun way to use up your crayon *nubs* that end up sitting on the bottom of the crayon bin.
Step 1) Find all your nubs. Peel them if necessary and place them in piles according to color:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Then, put no more than 3 colors into a greased muffin pan. We happened to have holiday muffin pans. :)

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

1/2t salt

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 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 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!

Happy Winter!

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