Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Creative Family - Book Review

I recently finished reading The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule, and all I can say is WOW! Not just another kids craft book, The Creative Family is more of a guide to help you tap into the creative genius in your family - children and adults alike.

Page after page you will find ideas that encourage discovery and exploration with a purpose. Amanda Soule activities and suggestions build character as well as family and community connections. This isn't a book of clutter creations as so many children's activity books. Rather The Creative Family aims to strengthen the child's spirit and the family unit through creative exploration. She stresses focusing on the process, exploring traditional and useful skills, and the role of family and relationships during creative adventures.

Not to be feared by the uncrafty or uncreative among us, The Creative Family will help you overcome the hurdles that are holding back your creative juices. Many of her suggestions revolve around play and exploration, most take only a handful of supplies, and all focus on the energy and happiness of just creating. She does a wonderful job of showing one how to adjust their perspective about creating with children from a chores with clean up to a privilege to be cherished.

I honestly can't say enough about this book. It has changed my life and the life of my children. Our home is a better and prettier place. We have already tried many of the suggested activities in the book and the children have loved every minute of it. We have a list going now of all the projects and ideas we want to try. It is a book EVERY family should own. Thank you Mrs. Soule.

You can find The Creative Family at Amazon, your local bookstore, or one SouleMama for an autographed copy. And be looking for Mrs. Soule's new book Handmade Home due out in August. You can bet I'll be one of the first to have it and a review will follow as well.

And not to be missed for those of us blog addicts is SouleMama. Mrs. Soule's AWESOME blog where she shares crafting, cooking, exploring and living a creative life. Check it out you wont be sorry you did.

Check back next month for my review of Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Police Station, Courthouse & K9 Unit

Little Explorers, our local homeschool group, headed to the Police Station and Courthouse for a behind the scenes look. Here Rebekah sits in the front of the cruiser. Hopefully she will never be in the back seat. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures inside the police station. The dispatch office was cool. Lots of high tech stuff to monitor. The holding cells were small and dingy. The kids were glad the officer wouldn't open a cell for pictures.

Court wasn't in session today, so the kids had the court room to themselves. They each pretended to be sworn in and even got to sit in the Judge's chair and bang the gavel.

The highlight of the day was the arrival of the Sheriff's K9 Unit. Below the deputy is showing the kids all of the dogs uniform and tools. She is holding up a bullet proof vest. The vest was purchased for her dog by a 12 year old boy who collected change in his community. The dog also has a badge, ID card, special collar and leash.

Here Edge (the dog) and the deputy run a scenario where Edge has to located a contraband substance. There were three boxes on the grass and there was no question which on Edge thought was it. He was scratching and going crazy.

It was an interesting trip. I think the kids learned quite a bit about some of the civil servants in the community. Then we all headed down to the canoe launch for a picnic lunch. The weather was fabulous and everyone had a good time - the kids running and playing in the big field and the moms just hanging out chatting.

A New Outfit

As promised, here is Rebekah in her newest skirt and matching kerchief. This skirt was so much fun to make and so easy. This would be a great way to use up remnants of fabric you have on hand or can find at the local fabric shop. This was a remnant from Walmart that cost only $1.00. The skirt came together in less than 45 minutes, and the kerchief was less than 15 minutes. And having done it once I know the next time it will be even quicker. The skirt pattern is from Oliver + S. The specialize in vintage patterns. You can find the lazy day skirt pattern here. For the kerchief I followed the directions on this site but didn't use the bias tape. Instead I used the same technique as the skirt hem to create the band and ties of the kerchief. This was the skirt and kerchief match.

Last weekend I found some adorable green fabric with bright red ladybugs on it. So know you know what the next skirt and kerchief project will be.

But first I am going to tackle a blouse for myself. Another great deal. The pattern is a Built By Wendy for Simplicity only $.99 at Joannes a while back and the fabric was off the clearance table that was an extra 50% off. If it turns out, this blouse will have cost me $5.37.

And both the older girls would like denim and khaki wrap skirts. Unfortunately, I haven't found a good deal on fabric for them. I guess we will be making a trip to Joannes when they have a 50% off coupon.

If you haven't figured out by my posts on sewing, I find it to be an extremely frugal way to outfit my girls. And not only that, sewing fulfills my need to be crafty and provides me with a relaxing hobby. If you haven't given sewing a try, I strongly suggest you consider it. The Internet offers abundant instruction, videos and FREE patterns. Really what have you got to loose?

The Laundry Line

A couple of years ago my wonderful family gave me a clothes line for Mother's Day. I honestly believe it was the best Mother's Day gift I ever received. Every year I look forward to the day I can hang the first load of wash out on the line after the long cold winter.

This year the first load was Rebekah's diapers. I love the look of cloth diapers on the line, and the natural bleaching of the sun is just an extra bonus. The second load was the sheets off our bed. Boy is it hard to crawl out of bed when you have fresh line dried sheets on the bed. One can just smell the spring time freshness. Needless to say that dream was interrupted by a wide awake 2 year old wanting her morning mama's milk.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gardening 101

Last year we didn't get the bountiful harvest that we had hoped from our garden. Some of this can be attributed to a first year garden and the mistakes that go along with being a rookie. We didn't start our seed early enough, didn't plant enough of certain veggies, and planted tomatoes and potatoes next to each other - a big NO NO. So this year we plan to take what we've learned and harvest the benefits of our experience.

Here the girls are starting some of our veggies. Green beans, two varieties of peas, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, and baby spinach. The trays with the peat pellets made planting easy. The trays are reusable. You just need to buy more peat pellets so they are frugal too. Especially for those of us that don't have good soil.

It didn't take long and we had lots of sprouts!

The weather during the day has been quite warm and sunny so the trays have spend the days outside. Unfortunately, they still need to come inside at night. We can have frost until about Memorial Day, so we have a while before we can plant outside.

The girls have been busy preparing the garden beds. Here they are mixing in coffee ground and egg shells. We have two raised beds, a 11x21 garden, and an herb garden. We plan to add two more raised beds and extend the garden to make room for potatoes.

Rebekah loves to water the seedlings. As you can see they are growing quite well.

You can be part of the Seed to Harvest Challenge sponsored by Teaching Good Things.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rain Art

With Hannah's infatuation with the weather,I have been trying to come up with ways to tie weather to other areas of our day. We all love to craft and create around here so I thought Rain Art would be the perfect weather related craft. Mother Nature even cooperated and gave us a day of rain.

This project is so easy to do and give such awesome results. Start with a heavy piece of paper such as watercolor paper or card stock. We used 12x12 sheets of scrap booking card stock. Next draw a picture with WASHABLE markers. The more color you have in the picture the better. Next, put your drawings out in the rain and watch the magic transformation. If it is raining hard, you may want to keep a close eye on them. Bring your picture in when the desired effect is reached. Lay the pictures on a flat surface to dry completely. That it!

As you can see in this simple flower drawing, the before and after are dramatically different.

This Week's Menu

Breakfast: Cold cereal
Lunch: Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Applesauce
Dinner: Mac & Cheese, Kielbasa, & Green Beans

Breakfast: Yogurt & Granola
Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches & Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Tomato Cream and Sausage Penne & Garlic Bread

Breakfast: Crepes with Ricotta Cheese and Fruit Filling
Lunch: Picnic after field Trip to Courthouse (hummus, veggies sticks, fruit, cheese & crackers)
Dinner: BBQ Chicken, Macaroni Salad & Cornbread

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Oatmeal Wheat Toast
Lunch: Tuna Melts & Mango Slices

Breakfast: Cold Cereal
Lunch: Picnic for the Girls - Mom will be a jury duty again
Dinner: Homemade Pizza - Mexican and Cheese

Breakfast: Sarah is trying a new muffin recipe
Lunch: Popcorn Chicken, Apple Slices, & Cucumber Sticks
Dinner: Steak, Baked Potatoes & Garden Salad

Breakfast: Green Smoothies
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy & Carrots

Don't forget to check out the other great menus and recipes at the Organizing Junkie.

Maple Almond Granola

With the warmer temperatures finally here we have exchanged out hot oatmeal for granola for one of our standard breakfasts. Making granola is super easy and so much more frugal, dare I say cheep, compared to buying it. Here is our favorite granola recipe. Enjoy!
Maple Almond Granola

4 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Almonds (or any nut of your choice)
½ cup Coconut
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Sea Salt
½ cup Maple Syrup (you can substitute Honey)
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup coconut Oil (you can substitute Olive Oil)
1 tsp Vanilla

Mix first five ingredients in a large bowl. Put remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat stirring occasionally until sugar and coconut oil are melted. Pour sugar mixture over oat mixture and stir to coat evenly and thoroughly. Spread evenly onto two greased baking pans and bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, stirring about every five minutes. The granola will brown and get crunchier as it cools so be careful not to over bake.

Add about 1 cup dried fruit (raisins, apples, cranberries) if desired.

Store in an air tight container.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wacky Weather

Hannah has developed quite an interest in the weather. I think in part to the fact that new Hampshire winters are so long and she is anxiously awaiting spring. I know, I know spring is already here, but it surely doesn't feel like it.

She and her dad had a blast building this weather vane. Isn't he brave to hold the pole with that saw in Hannah's hands so close? You can bet my hands wouldn't be there. What a great dad. Below they place their finished project out in the yard. (See the snow?)

The next project was to build a barometer to measure the change in air pressure. This one didn't involve any tools with blades so Mom was able to give the tiny little bit of help that was needed. Hannah placed the barometer in the living room window and has been taking readings numerous times through out the day. We had rain come in today and she was thrilled to see how the air pressure changed.

Today's project was a rain gauge using a two litter soda bottle. (We buy one or two two litter bottles of soda a year solely for the purpose of using the bottles for craft/science projects. Unfortunately, we had to cut this one, so I don't think it will be used again.) Here you can see Hannah ever so carefully placing the tape to mark the measurements on the gauge.

All finished, she places it out near the weather vane. Hopefully we will get some rain to measure. Today was just a few light showers.

I don't know what instruments she will want to build next and I don't care. I love to see their interest guide.

You can find the directions for these projects and many, many more in How The Weather Works a Reader's Digest Young Families book.

And of course we took a trip to the library to check out what books they had on weather. Here are some of the ones we found:

Little Cloud by Eric Carle (this one was mostly for Rebekah, but I am a sucker for Eric Carle books too)

I love the Rain by Margaret Park Bridges - a cute story book about a girl who learns to like the rain when her friends show her all the wonderful things you can do in the rain.

Why Does it Rain by Marian B. Jacobs, PhD - from the library of why this is a simple science book. Clear and concise explanations and and some cool pictures.

Sing a Song of Popcorn - Poetry Collection that has an entire section on weather. A lot of fun and silly poems, including "Sunflakes" the poem the girls are memorizing for their next poetry class.

Why the Sky is Blue by Marian B. Jacobs, PhD - also from the library of why with the same format.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Marin - I know we are hoping for spring, but if you are going to study weather you can't forget about snow. And W.A. Bentley and his photographs of snowflakes are just cool.

Snowflakes in Photographs by W.A. Bentley - just awesome photo of snowflakes!

The Magic School Bus Inside A Hurricane by Joanna Cole - typical Magic School Bus style

The Man Who Named the Clouds by Julie Hannah and Joan Holub - a children's biography of Luke Howard.

Science Matters Rainbows by David Whitfield - because every study needs a little color

Pass It On! Handmade Fun & Gifts!

Here is the deal:

The first five people to comment on this post will receive something made by me especially for them.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

First, I make no guarantees that you will like what I make, but I promise that I will make it just for you.

Second, It will be done sometime this year, but I'm not telling when.

Third, You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story or a song or I may sew, stitch, knit, stamp or bake something. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure! I reserve the right to do whatever I want! And I'm not giving any hints so don't bother asking!

Fourth, (And I added this part on my own, sorry for high jacking but . . .) I promise to pray for you and your family while making your gift. So feel free to include a special prayer request in your comment, if not just know that you will be in my prayers.

The catch?

Oh, the catch is that you must re-post this on your own blog and offer the same deal to 5 of your own lucky blog readers. So, the first 5 people to leave a comment telling me they are in, win a homemade gift by me! Feel free to tell me something about yourself (favorite colors, hobbies, etc.) so your gift will fit you better than a pair of my old jeans.

Finally, be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Springtime Giveaway Carnival - Coming Soon!

Laura over at Heavenly Homemakers is hosting a Springtime Giveaway Carnival. A few weeks ago I won a full year of preschool curriculum for Bekah. It was so cool to win. So I thought I would join in and offer a giveaway on my blog during the Springtime Giveaway Carnival.

And don't bother asking what I'm giving away. I'm not telling until Monday. Just mark your calendars and stop back to see what you could win here as well as all the other great giveaways during the carnival.

And if you want to join in and give something away, it's easy. You'll find all the details at Heavenly Homemakers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gratituesday-Quiet Moments with a Little One

It's vacation week here in New Hampshire, which for me means a quieter week. Running a small home childcare results in chaos Monday through Friday starting at around 7:30am. But not today. I was able to sleep in a few extra minutes, savor my first cup of coffee alone, and then spend a wonderful 45 minutes with Rebekah before anyone else in the house woke up. We sat in our big living room window and watched the birds peck the ground in search of their breakfast. Rebekah was especially excited to see a little chipmunk collecting the seeds the girls scattered the other day. Even the rain was welcomed as the soft pitter patter serenaded us. It was such a blessing to be able to share this quiet time with Rebekah, pointing out the beautiful creation God has provided us right in our own back yard.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brown Bread

My husband has always loved brown bread, and while I liked the flavor, bread out of a can just left me with a strange feeling. So when I stumbled across a recipe for brown bread in the March Taste of Home magazine, I just had to give it a try.


  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup kefier (you could substitute buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raisins

In a medium bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine the kefier, brown sugar, molasses and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just moistened. Fold in the raisins. Pour into a buttered 8x4 loaf pan and cover tightly with foil.

Place pan on a rack in a deep kettle. Add 1 inch of hot water to the kettle. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Don't forget to check the water level in the kettle and add more if needed.

Remove the pan from the kettle and let rest for 10 minutes before removing the bread to a wire rack. Served with soft cream cheese this is really yummy!

Note: If you don't have a rack for your kettle, try placing about four forks facing opposite directions in the bottom.

Spring Skirts

When I ordered our Easter dresses from Ringger Clothing, Mrs. Ringger had a few pre-made items for sale. I couldn't resist the little yellow skirt for Rebekah.

Jump forward a couple of weeks. I was in Walmart and found a bunch of fabric remnants for only a $1.00. I snatched up a few to make Rebekah a couple more spring and summer skirts.

Using the little yellow skirt as a pattern, I made my own pattern on news print. The little blue floral skirt is the first one. Not bad for a dollar skirt. (I had the thread and elastic left over from other projects.) I think I need to make a few adjustments but all in all it turned out great and Rebekah loves it.

I have another piece a little bit bigger so I am hoping to make a skirt and matching kerchief.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gardening Giveaway!

There has been a lot of buzz about Square Foot Gardening. So much so I can't even get the book from the library there is such a long waiting list. Luckily you can find out quite a bit on line and the book really isn't that much if you want to purchase it.

Well Erin over at $5 Dinners is giving Square Foot Gardening a try and is hosting a wonderful giveaway that would help any of you (us) that are interested in giving it a try as well - a $50.00 Home Depot Gift Card. Now I know that would get me started on a great Square Foot Garden. Just thinking about all those fresh summer veggies is making my mouth water right now. The giveaway is easy to enter. Just pop on over to $5 Dinners and leave a comment. But hurry. The giveaway ends Thursday, April 23rd at 5pm. Good luck and happy gardening.

A Tiny Little House

I think it is finally safe to say spring has arrive here in New Hampshire and the entire family has been enjoying the warmer temperatures and the bright sunshine.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am reading The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule and how inspiring it has been. Well, I decided to try another one of her ideas and see how the girls would respond. I asked them if they wanted to make fairy houses. As you can imagine Hannah was excited from the beginning. When you are a nine year old girl fairies are pretty cool. Sarah, on the other hand, wasn't sure about fairies but thought the idea of building something sounded intriguing. So off the girls went to find the perfect spot for the their fairy houses and begin collecting materials. They both had a wonderful time, fully immersed in their own imaginations and the world around them as they hunted for the perfect rock or twig. It was wonderful to watch.

I would tell you more, but I think Sarah did a better job than I could. You can see her darling house and take a tour on her blog.

The cool thing is she has returned to continue work on her house and is now constructing a second one. I love to see their imaginations run wild. Below you can see Hannah's fairy house.

Does anyone know if fairies will help keep the mosquitoes and no seeums away this summer?

This Weeks Menu Plan

Breakfast: Green Smoothies & Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch: Mac & Cheese, Apple Slices & Celery Sticks
Dinner: Grilled Chicken with Cheddar, Mushrooms, and Bacon on Homemade Buns & Onion Strings

Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Whole Wheat Toast
Lunch: Tuna Melts & Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Tomato Cream & Sausage Penne & Garlic Bread

Breakfast: Cold Cereal
Lunch: Quesadillas on Homemade Tortillas & Avocado Slices
Dinner: BBQ Pulled Pork on Homemade Buns, Potato Salad & Cole Slaw

Breakfast: Green Smoothies & Honey Whole Wheat Bagels
Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches, Veggie Sticks & Orange Wedges
Dinner: Fried Oysters, Fried Rice & Fruit Salad

Breakfast: Yogurt & Homemade Granola
Lunch: Picnic after our homeschool field trip to the local organic farm
Dinner: Homemade Pizza & Green Salad

Breakfast: Waffles and Sausage
Lunch: At Gramma's for the girls' cousin's birthday
Dinner: At Gramma's before we hit the road home

Breakfast: Banana Muffins
Lunch: PB&J Sandwiches & Apple Slices
Dinner: Pork Roast, Carrots, Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy & Applesauce

For more menu planning ideas and recipes stop by the Organizing Junkie.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Final Skiing Hurrah

Sorry this update is a little late, but you know what they say - better late than never. Skiing for the kids ended in March and the awards ceremony was a few weeks ago, but believe it or not I forgot my camera. Luckily one of the other moms there had hers and snapped a few pictures for me. Here is one of Sarah and her two homeschooled snow boarding buddies with there ribbons. Behind theme you see their proud homeschool graduate instructor. The three of them took first, second and third in their color class. A huge accomplishment considering only one of them had ever snowboarded before. They sure came a long way in ten weeks. You can check out their first day here.

Embroidered Pillow

So many of you thought it was cool that Rebekah was embroidering and wanted to see the finished project. Well here it is along with Rebekah and Rosie (her favorite doll). Didn't it turn out cute?

The best part was making it WITH her. Rebekah sat in my lap and helped me guide the fabric through the machine. She loved turning the pillow right side out and seeing her sewing emerge. And her little hands were wonderful at stuffing. She even insisted on helping hand sew the pillow closed. Now that was not an easy task, but she did a great job. However, the best part was when we were all finished and she ran through the house hugging her pillow saying "so pretty, so pretty". It was such a proud moment for both mama and child when she took her pillow into show papa and said "I sew pretty!"

I don't know if Rebekah will remember her first embroider project but I hope that this is just the first of many many memory making projects that this mama and daughter will work on. And I know I wont forget this one.

What sweet memories are you making with your dear children? I'd love for you to share.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Embroidery for Everyone!

I introduced my two older girls to embroidery a few months ago. Both of them loved it and enjoyed the craft. Sarah made a gift for her best friend and Hannah is working on an ABC book for Rebekah.
Here you can see both girls busy working away on their projects.

I never would have thought to introduce embroidery to Rebekah, you know she is only two. However, then I read The Creative Family by Amanda Soule and my perspective on Rebekah and embroidery all changed. (Actually the book has had a HUGE influence on me, but that is another post coming soon as I review the book.) Rebekah is having a wonderful time embroidering just like her big sisters. She keeps asking and signing to do more - more. She concentrates so hard. Just take a look at her working. Too cute!
She is done with her first piece and we are planning to turn it into a pillow. Together we picked out the fabric for the frame and back that complimented the floss colors she used. We will probably tackle that project tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Planting Herbs

In our quest to eat healthier as well as be more frugal and earth friendly, we have plans for a large garden this year. And this year we are including herbs as part of the garden. The girls were excited to get started planting so we purchased a cute little herb garden "green house" kit. Everything we needed to start basil, oregano and parsley, except for the hands to do the work. Of course those were easy to supply.

Sarah is busy planting her seeds. She also made a really cool chart to record planting date, sprout date and harvest dates as well as pictures and other cool facts.

Hannah watered the seeds and her sisters as well.

It's been six days and we already have a few tiny sprouts. The girls were so excited.

We plan to start most of our vegetables this week. So stay tuned . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Onion Strings

Everyone in the family loves onion rings, but I have never been able to make any that were making again, and frozen onion rings are not only expensive but not that great for you. So we usually only had onion rings when we went out to dinner, and that really isn't very often.

So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled on this recipe for onion strings. I just knew I had to give it a try. And boy am I glad I did. These were delicious! So much so I just had to share.

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 quarts peanut oil

Slice the onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk and let set for at least an hour.

Heat oil to 375 degrees.

While oil is heating combine the dry ingredients.

Once oil has reached 375 degrees, grab a handful of onions and toss in the flour mixture to coat. Shake off excess and plunge into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain and place in a warm oven. Continue until all onions are cooked.

These didn't take much time. And there really wasn't a huge mess. Everyone gave these Onion Strings a big thumbs up. You will be seeing them on our menu plans regularly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Day in the Park

The girls have been buggin' me to take them down to the playground. So when the sun came out and the temps crept a little this past weekend out we headed. All of us were glad to be out in the fresh air.
Rebekah truly enjoyed the slides and swings. She couldn't decide which she liked better and kept running back and forth between them. She even master the BIG slide all on her own.

It always amazes me how the simple things in life bring such pure joy. Just look at all the smiles. It doesn't get any better than this.

Nature Challenge #3

The girls and I have enjoyed our nature study over the last week or so. I love to watch spring arrive. After the long New Hampshire winter there is so much anticipation - waiting for the snow to melt, the temperatures to climb and maybe hit 50, sighting the first robin and so forth.

Well, we had temps in the high 40's the other day and the robins were singing, so we headed out to see what other signs of spring were around. The snow melt has created numerous springs and ponds around the house. The girls love to watch the ducks swim in them and I love to watch the girls. We didn't see many ducks this day, but we found something even more special. . .

The first flower - a lovely purple crocus. Luckily I had my camera and snapped a picture. The girls were excited to come home and record their discovery in their nature journals. Both of them completed a page including the photo we snapped and their own drawing. As the girls drew, I read the section on the crocus in the Handbook of Nature Study. Did you know that a crocus is not a bulb plant? I didn't. It comes from a corm. Go figure.

These moments when we can explore, learn and laugh together are so precious to this mama. They are the memories I hold dear in my heart and I hope will decorate the hearts of my children when they are mamas themselves.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dinner Rolls in 90 Minutes!

I've been meaning to post this recipe for a while now. I know that many of you have requested it. It is one of my family's favorite rolls. These are so yummy and so easy. And with my "new" Pampered Chef stone they are even better.
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Mix ¾ cup flour with sugar, yeast, and salt. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Add to dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add ¼ cup flour and beet for 2 minutes on high. Stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Knead 2-3 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and let rise 15 minutes. Divide dough into 12 pieces and shape into balls. Place in an 8-inch round cake pan. Let rise for 15 minutes. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

To make cinnamon rolls:

After rising the first time, roll the dough into a rectangle (about 12 x 18). Spread with 2 Tbsp of butter. Combine 1 tsp cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar. Sprinkle sugar mixture on dough. Roll jelly-roll style and cut into 1 inch pieces. Place in pan and bake as usual.

This Weeks Menu

The weather is finally getting a little warmer, the snow is melting a little more each day and the evenings are staying lighter later every day. Yes! Spring might actually have arrived in New Hampshire. I love living where the season change, and I don't think I could live where it is always summer. However, as the end of a season draws near, the waiting for the next to arrive can be worse than a tooth ache. You know the never ending throbbing pain that you just can't wait to end. Well, that is how I am starting to feel about winter. I just can't wait for spring - flowers, birds, green grass, leaves on the trees, firing up the grill, salads and more. I am growing tired of the soups, stews and casseroles. So this week's menu has a few splashes of spring time in it. I just hope DH doesn't have to grill hamburgers in the snow.

Breakfast: Banana Muffins & Yogurt
Lunch: Popcorn Chicken, Green Beans & Oranges
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas & Mexi Rice

Breakfast: Green Smoothies & Bagels
Lunch: Mac&Cheese, Apples Slices & Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Cheese Burgers & Seasoned Fries

Breakfast: Oatmeal & Fruit
Lunch: Salmon Patties, Sauteed Zucchini & Pineapple Chuncks
Dinner: Mahogany Chicken, Broccoli, &

Breakfast: Crepes with Ricotta Cheese Filling & Fruit
Lunch: Mexi Rice Burritos & Refried Beans
Dinner: Haddock with Spinach and Tomatoes & Rice Pilaf

Breakfast: Green Smoothies and Cinnamon Toast
Lunch: Tuna Melts & Strawberries
Dinner: Homemade Pizza

Breakfast: French Toast & Sausage
Lunch: Grilled Ham and Cheese
Dinner: On the road to Gramma's House

Easter Sunday
Brunch & Dinner at Gramma's

Don't forget to stop by the Orgainizing Junkie for more Menu Planning Monday meals and recipes.

Painting the Bathroom Again!

As most of you know we just finished redoing our upstairs bathroom last month. Well, it has been a month and so we figured it was time to paint the bathroom again. Only this time we painted the tub with kid friendly tub paints of course. This homemade concoction was a huge hit with all the girls even if the plan was for Rebekah to paint. Here you can see all the beautiful colors we made. The recipe was simple ~ liquid soap (I used lavender castile soap), cornstarch, and food coloring. I mixed about 1/3 cup castile soap with about 6 Tbsp of cornstarch. I just kept adding the cornstarch until it was a paint like consistency. Next I put a few Tbsp into each muffin cup and added the food coloring. Finally mix it all together. Tadah! Bathtub paint.

As you can see it was a little runny and we ran out of paint much too quickly for Rebekah. Both issues should be easily fixable. It rinsed off the tub wall easily and didn't leave a stain or residue. Just make sure you run some water on the floor of the tub. I did get a tiny bit of white film around the drain, but I didn't rinse.

Don't you just love the little chubby hand? I'm still impressed by her wonderful pencil grip.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Got Milk!

I headed to the farm today to pick up our first organic raw milk. The girls weren't able to go today, so I promised I would get a picture of the cows that gave them their milk. Aren't the cute. The farm is beautiful! A small family farm found in the middle of nowhere along a one lane mud road. I am already in love and ready to move in. They have been producing raw milk, yogurt, kefir and beef for about nine years. I can't tell you how excited I am to have found them.

I had placed my order at the beginning of the week. So when I arrived today it was waiting for me in the fridge all nicely labeled with my name. I also have a shelf to return my clean empty jars so they will be ready for the next week The milk is so good I know I am going to have to up my order. You can see we already tried a little. The yogurt is wonderfully tart! Just the way I like it. It will be wonderful with our homemade maple syrup!

If you want to know more about raw milk and its benefits check out this article.

Here you can see the two half gallons of milk, a quart of kefir and a quart of yogurt. Don't you just love the glass jars?