Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I love about you ~ Cyan, 9 years & 11 mos

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I love how quick you are to change your mind.  I know that is often considered a negative, but you do it with everything… not just when to wear different earrings but also when to change a bad mood to good, and when to change a complaint to a question.  I love that about you.

I love your crooked teeth.  I know we have to get them fixed soon, but I have to admit that I will miss them.  They have been such a focus of your beautiful face for so very long (that broken one has been broken since you were 16 mos old.  First the baby, and then, before it even came all the way in, the permanent one).

I LOVE your songs!  You sing all the time. I love hearing the words you have come up with to songs I already know and the songs you make up yourself. 

I love how good you are with your little brothers.  Having baby brothers isn’t easy and I know that sometimes you would much rather be nasty to them than patient, but you are usually patient and kind.

I love your style!  You have always had such a distinct style from when you decided your favorite color was red at 2, to when you decided you wanted your ears pierced at 4, to that ‘blue’ phase you took on from ages 7 - 9.  I believe that your style will keep changing, and each phase will be a reflection of the incredible woman you are growing into.

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I love you my sweet, darling girl!

Spontaneous Gratitude for a day at the Zoo

I went away with my girlfriends this weekend to a little lake getaway about 4 hours from here.  Normally this would be an amazing retreat where I would get fully refreshed and recharged… this time we took two babies along….  let’s just say it was not the chatty, calming, recharging drive it usually was.  I have spent the better part of yesterday and today in sort of a shock.  I decided that we should do something fun….  so we went to the zoo.  And it was wonderful. 

It felt like a spontaneous gratitude moment. (For the history of Spontaneous Gratitude, go here.)

So today I am grateful for:

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Close encounters with curious birds.

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Being able to see the musky arctic fox and them having plenty of room to run.

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Big, beautiful climbing trees and the beautiful girls that like to sit in them.

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And of course, being able to eat the animals.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moments in Homeschooling - Ladybug Release

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For the last 4 wks we have been raising our own baby ladybugs.  This morning we realized that our bugs were starting to die.  We were not sure why, but a quick release into the wild seemed necessary.  We wanted to find the best possible place for our little spotted friends so we searched out our most mangled flowers and tried to spot lots of aphids.  The daisies and roses were the ones that had the highest population of food for our friends and so that is where we let them go.

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They immediately started eating!  The kids were out there for quite a while watching them.

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Just after we placed them on the flowers, we noticed that there were already ladybug babies there!  I think our ladybugs will be pretty happy with the new digs!

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It’s great to be a homeschooler!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Honey Snob

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Over the past three years I have become accustomed to getting raw, Washington produced honey for about $3/lb.  My friends and I discovered Timmon’s Honey in 2008 and haven’t looked back since.  This honey is AMAZING!  We have tried every kind you can imagine.  Blackberry, raspberry, cranberry, pumpkin, clover, fireweed, buckwheat… they all have their different colors and flavors just like wine! 

The one pictured is Pumpkin Honey.  It has a strong cinnamon flavor which is great for putting in tea, but not so great for spreading on bread.  The best on bread (in my opinion) is the berry honey.  My favorite being Cranberry.  Yum!  We usually have three to four type of honey on hand at all times.  Some for spreading, some for baking, some for putting on oatmeal and even others for tea.  The duel purpose ones have started to become my least favorite… like getting a basic white wine when what the meal would be better paired with something specific.  I fear I have become somewhat of a honey snob.  :P

I have been blessed to know of this honey producer in my area already, but I hadn’t, how would I have found one?  Well, first I would have started with talking to a farmers market honey seller.  If I couldn’t find a honey seller at my local farmers market, I would look here:

Local Harvest - Honey

Honey Search Forum

Do you have a honey producer in your area?  What is your favorite kind of honey?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tea ‘n’ surf - Style

This last month one of my obsessions is finding my own home style.  I have a lot of elements to work with.  I have a smaller early 1960’s rambler home, and all the walls were white or DARK wood paneling when we came in.  It seems as though it would be a beautiful blank slate but what to do has been sort of a mystery.  We have worked out a few spaces, but still others (like our bedroom) have stayed blank and without character.  So I have been collecting pins (on Pinterest) of styles that I love and to see if there are any common elements that I can bring into my home.  These are a few from last week:

Solid Frog Style

Jessica Claire Photography 

Just furthering my current button obsession.

Isn’t this the cutest little set up for a preschool corner?

Not sure what it is from but I would love to see some of their other rooms!  Found on "Pinterest”

The more I do school with the kids the more a station like this seems necessary.

From The Create Something Inspired Project

Friday, June 24, 2011

{this moment} - garden kitty

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In my garden - 8:42am on June 21st

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We have been working a lot on the yard.  I moved the roses to the back of the patio and patched the big holes in the grass.  I have been spraying the patio roses every morning with a mix of water and worm tea to make them thrive through the transition. We have weeded out the front lavender beds and are planning to remove the dying plants and put in something with a bit more year round color.  I have been scouting garden arches and trellis ideas.   The weather is getting better and the yard is getting more and more beautiful!

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The flowers are in full bloom and making the yard brighter with every sweet budding face.

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We have even started getting out very first harvest.  All the veggies are ready for the first seasons salad!

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Happy Gardening!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moments in Homeschooling - Preschool

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Sequence and matching, small motor skills, large hand movement and color recognition.  Moving so fast he makes my head spin.  That is a day in the life of a toddler turned preschooler.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Online inspiration ~ Button Bracelets

I have been finding so many amazing things from my surfing around the web lately that I am feeling completely inspired!  Today, the baby was sleeping, the kids were playing outside in this beautiful day we were having and I was cleaning.  I ran across a box of buttons from my friends wedding that I usually let Logan play with.  But having seen this tutorial recently, I thought of something else to do with them:  Button Bracelets

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I made Cyan’s in all her favorite colors; blue, white, and green.  And for Logan:

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I found a special Monster button and coordinated all his buttons around that.  They have been wearing them all morning long.  I think they were a hit!

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So much so that 20 minutes later I had my own! 

Tips:

  • Make sure you put each button on separately.  That allows the elastic to stretch.
  • Make the elastic circle first.  It seems logical that since you are laying the buttons out that you would put them on while the elastic wasn’t sewn in a circle… but this way is harder.  And it is also easier to cover the two attached edges with a button if that is the first button you put on.

Happy Crafting!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Making nests and neighbors

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Cyan and the two neighbor girls found this Song Sparrow’s nest in their backyard.  This nest was untouched by the tractor lawn mower that went right over it… but I think the mama was scared off.

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What sweet stories and discoveries they made!

{this moment} ~ not so sure about this

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tea ‘n’ Surf ~ Some Etsy Love

cottage shelf wood shabby chic vase hooks industrial Metallic Silver - Silver Hks

I just love the style of this Cottage Shelf by OldNewAgain

Small Allium Table lamp

I have so been looking for an excuse to get myself one of these incredible lamps by HannahNunn

organic waldorf 7-8

And how cute is this green teether with rainbow hair? I think Luke may need one. By SewnNatural

Bird & Nest - Story Stone Set

I have done decoupage on rocks before but this is an incredibly cute idea for story starters. Story Starter Stones! By RedBirdCrafts

I love how inspiring what other people’s creations can be for my crafty side!

On that note, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite timesuck:

Pinterest

I have so enjoyed being able to ‘pin’ all of my creative inspiration on my Pinterest boards! The one for birthday parties alone is going to save me TONS of printer ink! I would have filed all these away in my inspiration notebooks. I have two birthday’s in July and all of the party ideas are right there at one click. It’s genius!

If you would like an invite to Pinterest just comment with your email address and I will happily send you one right out! Happy Pinning!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monster Party Video

The kids and I have been planning the upcoming birthday parties. Cyan's is having a fairy garden party next month and there has been tons of talk about décor, crafts, and fun ideas. 

Not to be over shadowed however, while crafting and searching ideas Logan decided that he wanted a monster party for his 5th birthday party… in January. I decided to humor him (really, what's the harm of putting “Monster Party” in Google?) and wow! What a lot of adorable monster party ideas there are!

When sifting through the tons of ideas I found this:

Sarah's Perfect Rainbow Monster Party

How cute is that???  Anyone remember my midnight knitting project?  All they needed were little feet and fangs!  I decided as soon as I saw this that I was making a monster for each of our guests and I was very glad we were planning so far ahead! The ‘adopt a monster’ basket was just TOO cute!

And then we saw this:

Monsters On Parade Video

COMPLETELY inspired, Alex and Cyan made this in the next hour or so with my camera:

Kids, Cameras, and knit balls make for good videos

I was so seriously impressed that I may have them make another one when I get the monsters finished!  :)  It's adorable and I can't believe it's their first one. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Answering questions about the bread

Here is a second loaf of same bread recipe (the recipe is here).  The first one I let it rise in a oiled loaf pan and did not add steam into the oven. Below I did it just like the recipe calls for with the steam and the corn meal covered stone to cook.  Two totally different loaves of bread, both delicious and wonderful!

_MG_8738_thumb[1]This one we had with soup. Smile

In my kitchen, 12:45pm on a Tuesday afternoon

The most beautiful homemade bread!!

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I mean really… could home made bread look any better?  This week I tried the honey-wheat bread too… that was all gone with in minutes of coming out of the oven.  And in the spirit of finding things to go onto bread instead of butter (I SO miss butter!!), I went by our local honey producer and picked up 6 lbs of honey last Friday.  Those were some happy homemade bread eatin’ kids!

Testing, testing… Chocolate covered marshmallow flowers

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I have been testing out ideas for Cyan’s upcoming birthday party and this was one I came up with. 

Chocolate Marshmallow Flowers

  • Use this template and cut out as many flowers as you can. 
  • Stick a large marshmallow on a candy stick.
  • Dip them in a melted chocolate of your choice. (I used white chocolate) and dip in sprinkles (I used orange to create a ‘flower center).
  • Let set upside-down on a surface covered with wax paper.
  • Punch a small hole in the center of the flower and pushed it up onto the stick, under the marshmallow.

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I had tons of ideas… you could use orange chocolate candy quick and then white non-pariels on top with white or off white flowers… or dark chocolate with chocolate sprinkles with a tan flower (that sounds very chic and grown up way to eat large marshmallows by the ton) or any way you choose. 

The taste test went over well.  For some reason food on a stick always goes over better… kind of like how straws make drinks more fun to drink.

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Not sure if I will be doing them for Cyan’s birthday party but they sure were cute and tasty!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

DF/SF me ~ Another first: Dairy free Chicken Pot Pie

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  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup English peas (frozen work fine)
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 pie crusts (I bought yucky shortening ones from the store cuz I just couldn’t bring myself to actually buy shortening and make my own.)
  1. Dice chicken and place in the pan with the 1 Tbs of olive oil and salt.  Sauté until chicken is nearly done. 
  2. Toss in onions, carrots, celery, peas (if fresh, wait until just before putting in pie crust for frozen) and cook until onions just begin to go clear. (At this point, everything is still a bit raw, but that is the way you want it because you don’t want your peas and carrots to be over cooked after the oven.)
  3. Add flour and toss until it’s all incorporated. 
  4. Add the chicken stock and stir. 
  5. Taste and salt if needed.  (Remember, those veggies are supposed to be a bit crunchy at this point.)
  6. Place mixture in the bottom crust in the pie pan and place the top crust over, pinching the edges around as you go. 
  7. Bake at 400* for 20 minutes. 
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!