Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Luncheon Spread

I'm stuck in a lunch rut with my kiddos. They always seem to end up with either pb and honey sandwiches or grilled cheese. In an effort for them to eat more fruits and veggies AND in an effort to simplify lunches, I'm thinking of putting together a salad spread, a salmagundi of sorts. Here's what I'm thinking of including:

Hummus
refried beans
chickpeas
carrot sticks
olives
pita
cheese slices
grapes
nuts

But I need more ideas! I need things that will keep once cut up.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So Many Goings On!

Well, it ain't a turkey! I took other pictures, but to be sensitive to those who may be bothered by the sight of a dead bird, I'm only showing the tail. I was in my living room when I heard this loud bump, but I couldn't figure out what it was. A little bit later, I was loading the kiddos into the truck when I saw this grouse laying next to the tire. At first glance, I thought it was a falcon and was ready to call EnCon! A beautiful bird, to be sure, but not being wasteful, I threw the bird into the cooler in the truck, took it to my dad's and had it butchered. My dad also gave the tail to my son. We salted the end and have it pegged on a board so it fans out nicely for display. This'll be only the 2nd time in my life I've had grouse.

My kiddos LOVE playdoh. But I was sick of scraping dried playdoh off my dining room table. So, I made them these playmats! They're made out of sturdy construction paper and "laminated" with packaging tape.

I was getting him dressed this morning and he just looked so stinkin' cute without a shirt on that I had to get a picture. I love soft, plump babies!

An autumn isn't complete without my oldest son spotting a combine!

He's starting to roll over! (Yes, he's on the kitchen floor. Yes, he likes being on the floor. Yes, the floor is clean. Yes, the floor is warm.)

My oldest son was proud of his band of robots that he drew!

Our new sling from Sevenslings.com! I love it for wearing him on my hip!

In other news, seed catalogs have been coming in, and not my usual ones, either. I'm discovering all sorts of new (old) varieties of veggies and am looking at getting mostly heirlooms next year.

Speaking of veggies, come the new year, I'm starting a veggie, fruit and new food chart for my oldest son and daughter. 4 year old is pretty good at eating a decent variety of fruits and veggies. He'll even do spinach a little, thanks to Popeye and he loves lima beans! But 2 year old will have none of it. I can get her to eat raw carrot a little, and a bit of banana and apple. She does like black beans and black olives, but only if they're canned. This morning, I successfully made her a smoothie out of strawberries and bananas, but lunch's smoothing of carrot, beet and raspberries didn't fly too well with her. She only drank about an ounce. So, I'm going to start charts with 12 slots for each new food (they say it take 12 tries to acquire a taste.) Then, I'll be on a quest to get them to eat new things.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I wonder....

I walked outside this evening to load our outdoor wood boiler (I love loading it, so I do it instead of hubby when I can) and took in the view. The setting sun was glinting off the silver bins and dryers at the farm next door. Across from the farm, the moon was a pale white shadow just above the old apple orchard. The air was crisp, the woods bare, and the quietude perfect. I love it here. I'm hard pressed to move. Yet, our house is so small and getting smaller by the day.

I look at real estate, but find nothing. Perhaps we will be able to add on in the (hopefully) near future.

I wonder, are we to move or stay put?

Edited: I had typed "wool boiler" but I meant wood boiler! Sorry!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Go Out and Play!

I know I should let them. I know they need to. But it is so hard to these days!

Charlotte Mason says that children need daily outdoor excursions. I'd love to do that, and my son begs me to let him go out and play, but I won't.

For one thing, having a 5 month old outdoors in November isn't an easy task. For another thing, while I can trust my 4 year old in our backyard on his own, I cannot trust my 2 year old to stay where she belongs. She likes to wander to the front of the house and even managed to scoot across the street to visit our neighbor when I had popped inside for a quick peek at dinner cooking once. (Chalk up another gray hair to that one!) And the last straw is the recent robberies in the area. Though we live in the country, the inner city drug scene has come barging in. There's a drug run going on and in order to get drug money, these druggies have been circling out from the city, robbing houses. Because of this breech in our cozy neighborhood security, hubby has asked me to not let the children play outdoors unless I was right there with them (as opposed to remaining indoors with nose pressed against the glass.)

Hmmmm....a stockade fence around the perimeter of the yard is starting to sound really good!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sour Raw Milk and Hiding Veggies in Brownies?

I bought too much raw milk the last time I was at the farm and a gallon of it started to turn. It really wasn't all that tasty to drink anymore, but I didn't want it to go to waste. After doing some research, I learned that when raw milk starts to sour, it is still good for you and chock full of healthful enzymes. When pasteurized milk sours, it just goes rancid and you best dump it down the drain. So, not needing any more yogurt, I decided to make a simple fresh cheese.

1 gallon of raw milk heated slowly, stirring often to 180 degrees F
1/4-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar added once the milk reaches 180 - start with the 1/4 of a cup and add a little more at a time, slowly and carefully increasing the heat, stirring until the curds separate from the whey

Drain into a cloth lined collander. String up the cloth and let the whey drip out until a solid cheese is formed.

It's super-yummy - kind of like a more moist, fresh-tasting feta.

My 4 year old calls it "fast cheese" and when he eats a bite, he runs around the house as fast as he can!

PS...don'tcha just love my countertops!? LOL! They are original 1950's! As ugly as they are, they're great. They wipe clean and I can place hot pots directly on them.

My daughter is NOT a fruit and veggie lover. I followed all the advice in her early years of solid food, but as soon as she turned 18 months, she turned her nose up at all her favorite fruits and veggies. Now, I hide them in whatever I can (while also working towards her eating them the way she used to). Yep, there's veggies in these brownies. And there's no chocolate! I used the Carob Brownie recipe in Nourishing Traditions, but modified it.

Instead of butter, there's pumpkin
Instead of 1 of the eggs, there's baby food sweet potato that my daughter refused yesterday
Instead of rapadura, I used sugar and honey
I added some peanut butter chips just for good measure to try to encourage my kids to eat the "cake." Plus, I've been craving peanut butter and "chocolate" together.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giveaway!

I have a Giveaway going on HERE!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day, Daddy!

1st Stripe
Drill Sgt.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Laundry Tree Soapnuts Review


It was so exciting for me to win the giveaway from Girly Girl Giveaways for soaps nuts from Laundry Tree! I was even more excited to receive the box in the mail and open it! I was expecting just few soapnuts, the essential oil and a baggy. Maybe I didn't read the giveaway close enough, but I was pleasantly surprised to receive what's shown in the picture above! A LOT of soapnuts, 2 baggies and the essential oil adorably packaged in the basket! But....are soap nuts just nuts? Or are they something I'd buy again?

I put them right to the test! Following the directions, I put 5 soapnuts in the baggy. Not following the directions, I put about 8 drops of essential oil on the baggy. You really only need 2 or 3. I had chosen baby powder scented oil and it's a little overpowering with 8 drops. 2 or 3 would have done just fine, just as the instructions say! Although, I loved the smell so much, I added a couple drops to my natural cleaning solution. Back to the laundry room, I had quite the task for these little soapnuts. Last night, my infant had a poopy cloth diaper that I had forgotten to rinse. Yellow breast milk poop was mostly dried in the nappy. When I pulled the diaper out of the wash, they were spotless! WOW!

So, what in the world are soapnuts? They the dried berries of the Chinese Soapberry Tree. They contain saponins which create suds and clean things! They are as natural as you can get and great for cloth diapers and delicates. Shall I try them on my silk blouse that my son spit up on a month ago and I have yet to laundry? 5 nuts last up to 6 loads of laundry. I haven't counted them, but I got quite a lot of nuts!

Please, go visit Laundry Tree and check out their soapnuts and essential oils!

**Please note that I won this on an online giveaway and chose to do an online review without incentive from the company. No monies were exchanged.**

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Menu Planning Made Easy For Me

Sometimes, I menu plan. When life is pretty normal and I can expect to make dinner every night on a regular basis, I try to menu plan. I tend to follow a pattern that helps streamline the dinner choices, especially if I plan for the whole month. Here's what I do and why:

Sunday: We at a my parents', so no dinner is planned.
Monday: Soup or Stew - Monday is a busy day for me, so it's easy to just toss a soup or stew in a crockpot.
Tuesday and Wednesday: I leave open for creativity or stand-by favorites. I like to try different ethnic dishes or peruse through my historical cookbooks.
Thursday: Pasta night - This is something my parents started and I thought it was a good night for pasta. I try to keep this the only day of the week we eat pasta.
Friday: Fish! Not for religious reasons, but I always liked the sound of "Fish on Fridays!"
Saturday: Pizza (or some derivative thereof) Sometimes, I'll allow hot dogs or hamburgers instead, or we'll do a calzone or stromboli.

Do you menu plan? Do you follow a pattern? Please share!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Giveaway!

Like a Warm Cup of Coffee is hosting a giveaway of $50 towards a beautiful set, of dishes, the Grateful for You collection. The Giveaway ends 11/12.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Proactive Prayer


My minister has a saying that goes, "Faith=Knowledge+Belief+Action."

Action.

So often my prayer life is a jumbled call-out of needs, often repeated until the stress I'm feeling is lessened or I just sort of give up, figuring God heard me enough times. Oh, I have my times of praise and worship and times of thanksgiving and just chatting with God, but I'm focusing on the prayers of needs and wants for this particular post.

This morning, "Proactive Prayer" popped into my head. When I pray for the needs and wants, am I willing to pray proactively, or just whine a bit? Proactive praying, to me, is to pray with the full intent of following through, moving forward and doing what God would have us do in faith.

So often, prayer is depicted as a stillness in your life, as it very well should be in many circumstances. "Be still and know that I am God," the Bible says. But, we also have to pray with our feet. Jesus healed the lame man, but it was up to the lame man to get up in faith and walk! Something has come up. Do we sit in our recliner and pray for the Lord to guide us in this emergency, or are we praying as we're already running to tackle the problem?

Proactive prayer.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

First Impression

Most people come in the back door, including hubby when he comes home from work. With the help of the kiddos, we redid the stairway going up to the kitchen porch. The kitchen porch is incomplete, small and messy right now and the door doesn't open all the way because of stuff piled. Then, you enter in the kitchen, which I try to keep tidy, but it is the hub of the house and main entrance.

Lately, I've felt burdened to make a good first impression by cleaning up an organizing the porch and kitchen. You see, hubby needs a haven of bliss. Our little cottage should bring him peace as he walks in the door. He doesn't need to fight with a door that swings back at him as he tries to enter because stuff is piled behind it. He doesn't need to trip over shoes or not have immediate access to drop his lunch pail after a long, hard day at work. He doesn't need to see clutter.

Hubby doesn't complain a bit, nor has he given any sigh or disapproving look. He's truly happy to be home no matter what. But I can't help feeling that any negativity to his homey environ can't be helpful to achieving bliss.

He may not really notice the door not opening all the way and swinging back because of junk piled because it's almost always like that, but I'm sure he would happily notice when it opens all the way and allows for clear entry into the porch and the kitchen.

The rest of the house stays pretty tidy for him, but a lovely first impression would be a really nice gift to give to hubby.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I Won Soapnuts!

BWS tips button



I won the soapnuts giveaway at Girly Girl Giveaways!
The soapnuts are coming from Laundry Tree.
I'm so excited!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day

Yes, I am voting today.

Yes, I researched the candidates.

Yes, I'm taking my children with me to the polling place.

Monday, November 01, 2010

30 Days of Giving, Day 1 and more


They say charity begins at home.

I decided that today's gift will be to my children in that I promise not to yell at them. You might think, "Yeah? So what?" But this is a biggie for me. I hate that I have a tendency to yell. I get stressed easily and go from 0 to 60 in .5 seconds and once I'm at 60 it's difficult to slow back down to 0. On top of that, I'm seeing my own sin manifest in my children. My 4 year old has been yelling and getting stressed easily. I've seen my 2 year old clench her little fists in anger and look as if veins were going to pop out of her neck. The two of them have had some awful fights lately.

Now, I'm not counting yelling that's necessary, like yelling at a child running out into a parking lot to stop and return, or yelling to make myself heard to stop a loud fight. I'm talking really about not allowing myself to get that stressed (often over little things) to the point where I give up on self control and yell in anger and frustration.

So, NO YELLING today. Sober-mindedness and self-control are key.

I won't be blogging about every gift, but I will list them in the sidebar to the right.

I also started seeking out verses of thanksgiving and came across Ephesians 1:16. While that was a nice verse, I decided to read the whole chapter and found it a great chapter to agree in prayer upon for my own church family.