Friday, February 26, 2010

Wooden Book Marks

We are a family of bibliophiles! Books are a passion for all of us. They are all over the house, actually taking over the house, but I don't mine.

Today, Doug surprised us all with wooden book marks. All of us personalized our own book mark. Dad's with a big "D". Mom's with a little inspiration and flower. Bekah with her name and a bird. Sarah made hers to look like a snowboard. Hannah's has a purple "H" and flowers.

Of course when I went to take pictures I couldn't find Sarah's and Hannah's book marks. Would you believe they had already found their way into the books the girls are reading.

And if you are wondering what we are reading now as a family - the answer.

This is the third book in The Mysterious Benedict Society series. We have loved them all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday

WIP = work in progress

Here is a little peek into my WIP basket.
Knitting a pair of socks - one's done one to go
Flat Quarters for a quilt for Rebekah's doll bed
Handmade cards for Garden Mama's Valentine Swap

It has been so much fun receiving handmade cards with handwritten note from around the world. I had almost forgotten how much fun it is to get real mail. I think writing letters will become a regular part of life.

Who would you send a real handwritten snail mail letter to? What's stopping you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spinach, Orange and Mushroom Salad

This has been one of my favorite salads since I was a little girl. My mom used to make this every year for Christmas Eve dinner. I actually don't remember having it any other time of the year. And I'm not sure why because it is really simple to throw together. It is now a standard salad in my house and the girls love it as much as I did growing up.

We were blessed this week with two packages of organic baby spinach, button mushrooms and a 5lb bag of organic oranges, and so I knew that this salad would end up on the menu at least once.

Toss together baby spinach, sliced button mushrooms, and orange sections that have been cut into bite size pieces. You could also use mandarin oranges or clementines.

The dressing is just as simple:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp powdered mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper

Toss is all in a jar with a tight lid and shake. The dressing is better after a couple of hours to let the flavors blend. And it keeps in the fridge for . . . well I'm not sure as it never lasts that long. But for a while.

Rolling Pins for All the Little Ones

As mentioned in an earlier post Doug received a new toy for his birthday - a mini lathe. So he was at it again making some beautiful rolling pins just the right size for Rebekah and her doll Rosie.

The first one was a French rolling pin just like mine.

The next one is more traditional. For this one he used an antique rolling pin that was first my mothers, then mine and all my girls have used it as well. While I love my French pin, Rebekah prefers this one. I think it is easier for her to hold the handles.

Rebekah's doll Rosie goes everywhere and does everything that Rebekah does, so it only seemed fitting that she too would have a rolling pin for her own. Girl and doll have had a wonderful time making pies, cookies and more.

You'll soon be able to see these as well as some more items in our ETSY shop. We are working hard to get it open. If however you just need to have one or both of these little rolling pins please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekly Menu - Feb. 22-28

This is one of those crazy weeks where we are out of the house more than home. Skiing, soap making, book club and field trips have us packing more meals than not it feels like. So why menu plan? Because having a plan helps keep some sanity when we're running all over the place.


Breakfast - Oatmeal with all the fixings
Lunch - Ski Mountain Picnic: Hummus and Veggies, Pears, Cheese and Crackers, Almonds
Dinner - Apres Ski Party: Pizza and ?


Breakfast - Poached Eggs on Toast
Lunch - Mac and Cheese and Smoothies
Dinner - Homemade Pizza with friends after making soap


Breakfast - Blueberry Muffins
Lunch - Picnic at Ice Harvesting Field Trip: Veggie and Hummus Wraps and Oranges
Dinner - Black Bean Burritos with Mexi Rice


Breakfast - Yogurt and Maple Almond Granola
Lunch - Picnic at Skiing: Hummus and Veggies, Apples, Cheese and Crackers, Almonds


Breakfast - Crepes with Ricotta Filling and Fruit
Lunch - Tuna Melts and Apple Slices
Dinner - Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad, Garlic Bread


Breakfast - Pancakes and Bacon
Dinner - Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Peas


Breakfast - Pumpkin Bread
Lunch - Left Overs
Dinner - Pork Roast, Roasted Red Potatoes, Carrots, and Apple Sauce

Looking for more menu inspirations? Check out hundreds of menu ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Lavender Powder

Anyone who knows me or has been reading this blog for a while knows that I am always on the lookout to save money, simplify, and live more healthily. We've accomplished a lot in the kitchen and now I am moving on to health and beauty products. We ran out of baby powder the other day and Rebekah was asking for powder after her bath. What's a mom to do? Search for a homemade solution of course.

Who knew a frugal, healthy alternative to baby/body powder was as close as my pantry?

In a bowl combine 3/4 cup arrowroot (you can use cornstarch which is cheaper but can contain talc), 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup rice flour, 1/4 cup lavender flowers that have been finely powdered. I used a mini food processor/blender for this. I'm sure you could leave out the lavender, but it just smells so good.

Um - that's it. Store in an air tight container. This smells so wonderful and makes our skin silky smooth after a bath.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Needle Felting - Mother Earth

Inspired by many of the fabulous blogs and Etsy designers out there I thought it was about time to try my hand at 3D needle felting. Rebekah's new favorite book, The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers, inspired the creation of our Mother Earth. I think she will be a splendid addition to our Spring Nature Table when the time arrives.

I'm still trying to decide what she should be holding in her hands. A basket of flowers is my first thought, but the idea of felting little flowers is a little daunting. What do you think Mother Earth should be holding?

Many thanks to the great tutorial I found here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Aromatherapy Bean Bags

We all had so much fun making Christmas gifts this year, that Hannah decided that she wanted to make handmade gifts for Valentine's Day as well.

So for Rebekah she wanted to make bean bags. And not just any bean bags, but aromatherapy bean bags. I took her to the local quilt shop and she picked out the gorgeous fabrics. Together we cut and pinned . . .

sewed and stuffed . . .

And Rebekah just loves her lavender bean bags (she calls them sleeping bags - It's just too cute)They are actually a huge hit with everyone who picks one up. The fragrance is subtle and warmly surrounds you the more you toss and squish and play.

We are planning on making more with other scents. So a question for you all - What scent would you like to see in a bean bag?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Little Knitting Warmth

This is such a cool headband pattern. Quick, Easy, Ingenious! This green one is for Sarah. Hannah is getting a purple one. Can you guess their favorite colors? And I already have a lovey autumn multi colored one.

I love that it buttons for a custom fit. And even better the button holes are just part of the pattern. I'm not big on making button holes so this is a real plus. And because each one only takes about two hours start to finish it's the perfect quick knit gift. These are for Valentine's day.

The headbands for the girls are a little smaller and narrower than the original pattern. A great use for left over yarn. You can find my adjustments on my ravlery page. The original pattern is here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Multiplication Clock

Multiplication has never come easy for Hannah. So we are always on the look out for fun ways to practice the multiplication tables. I was so excited to stumble upon this idea for a multiplication clock on Red Dirt Mother's blog. The girls love crafty, artsy stuff, so when I can combine that with school it is a big score for everyone.

Making the clock used lots of math skill beyond multiplication. Measuring, making perfect circles, halving, patterns, and more.

And then of course there was the coloring.

The clocks are now hung where they can be referred to and even just admired.

You can find the directions for this cool project here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Waldorf Inspired Window Stars

I have long admired these beautiful window decorations, but was always intimidated by what I though would be an impossible task. Then I stumbled upon this wonderful tutorial at Garden Mama's blog. It was so easy I couldn't resist giving them a try. I ordered the kite paper from here.

Don't you just love the bright colors? Just what we needed to brighten up the grey winter days we have been having.

The folds were really very easy. The tutorial is great! the kids caught on fast and had all their pieces ready in no time.

Lined up and ready for glue.

The star magically appeared as the pieces were fit together.

All done!

This pictured doesn't do the star justice. It was getting dark out. When the sun is out the star really glows. They add so much merriment to our kitchen. I can't wait to make more. We will be searching for other tutorials and patterns. If we don't find any, we may have to break down and purchase Magical Window Stars.

See what other fun nature inspired activities others are up to at The Magic Onions Friday's Nature Table.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

One Small Change February

Hip Mountain Mama is hosting a challenge - One Small Change. Simply put everyone is asked to make one change that will reduce your impact on the earth every month from January to April. So that by Earth Day 2010 you will have made four changes. Four changes isn't very many, but with all those participating it sure will add up to alot.

Our change for February is to remove all the zip lock type bags and plastic drink bottles from our life. The picture shows our stainless beverage bottles and some reusable sandwich bags. Thanks Liz!

Both of these items have gotten lots of use these past two months with all the days at the ski mountain.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Woodworking With Dad

Doug received a lathe for his birthday and had been having fun experimenting with it. And when dad is interested and playing the girls just have to see what it's all about. Nosy aren't they? Well, being the great dad that he is he of course let them get right in on the action.

Above they are checking out some of the bowls already complete and trying to decide on a design for the next one. Happy with their design dad preps the wood.

Hannah's up first. It looks like it is snowing, but really it is wood shavings.

A final sand of the inside and out and it's almost done.

Sarah wasn't sure of the lathe in the beginning, but she got the hand of it quickly. You can tell she is just starting. The bowl is still a solid piece of wood.

Up close!

Here are the finished bowls. One for each of the girls including me. Each one is as different as the girl who made it. I think they are all beautiful. And lucky me. I received the one with the lid made especially for me by my honey.

They are the perfect little bowls for ear rings, rings, pins, knitting markers, pennies and other little treasures. The next project is a salt cellar and then a set of little bowls for Rebekah's kitchen. What would you do with a little bowl?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sheet to Lounge Pant

Sewing is something I enjoy but am not very good at. Finding fabric isn't always easy either. We only have one fabric store and they are really a quilt shop and only have quilting cottons. and of course there is the cost of nice fabric. So what's a girl to do you ask? Shop the dump store and thrift stores for items you can re purpose.

This funky stripe was originally a bed sheet. Now it is a pair of lounge pants for Sarah. The mustard cuff was the top of the sheet. I love the detail it adds to the pants and I didn't have to hem them! Sarah gets a lot of lounge pants made for her, because we can't buy any to fit her. Tall and skinny! Oh to have such problems. And when I can make a pair for nothing, nada, zip, zilch how could it be better?

And not only does it help out the family budget but it really is a green product as well. If we hadn't rescued the sheet from the dump store it would have ended up in the dump a couple of days later.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Candles for Candlemas

February 2nd marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the summer equinox. It is recognized as the beginning of spring in some areas as well as the start of the planting season. Not so here in cold and snowy New Hampshire. However, it was fun to learn about Candlemas. And as the name suggests, decorations must include candles. their light represents the new life that is coming and the growing light as the days get longer.

So candles it is. We decided to dip our own bees wax candles.

We gathered our supplies. Pot of water, canning jar, tall-narrow jar (we used a milk bottle), wick, skewers, and of course bees wax.

We melted the bees wax in the canning jar in the pot of simmering water. This took a little while and smelled so good.

After the wick was tied to the skewer we began dipping. All the girls were shocked that the first dip was hardly noticeable. It was then that they realized that this may take a while.

Bekah thought it was great. She was very careful not to get the hot wax on herself. Between dips we hung the candle by resting the skewers on two cereal boxes. By the time the fourth candle was dipped the first was ready for the next coat.

Here are our finished candles hanging next to our winter nature table. We all had a lot of fun, but I am glad that we don't have to make candles for our family to use as our lighting. I don't think we would get anything else done.

'at the beginning of february, when the infant light of spring is greeted thankfully by the winter seems fitting we should celebrate a candle festival to remember that moment when the light of the world was received, when the old yielded to the new.'

~ from all year round

if candlemas day be fair and bright,
winter will take another flight.
if candlemas day be cloud and rain,
winter is gone and will not come again.

~ from festivals, family and food

Stop the The Magic Onions' Friday's Nature Table to see what other crafty/nature stuff people have been working on.