Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My first onion braid!

These onions have been so satisfying! 

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To braid them I followed along with this video on how to braid garlic… it worked out great! I could hang them on my wall or tuck them in a basket and either way they are cured and all ready for eating. YUM!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Take my breath away

Have you ever woken up to an absolutely perfect morning?

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This is what it was on Wednesday when I went to pick up my Zycon peaches (which look great btw).  I couldn’t help but turn around and go back to grab my camera.

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What an incredibly lovely place we live in!  We are so amazingly blessed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

5 ways to pamper your children - Part 3

It was a long night.  I had just had dental work done and we had friends over late.  I woke up and barely stumbled through the house to make breakfast.  I was barking at everyone and Don was leaving to have the car’s breaks fixed and then head to the doctors… which meant that any moment of peace I would have before he left for work would be gone.  I had woken up thinking of all the things I had to get done and decided that I wasn’t going to play by the rules today.  I was going to wake up and craft and the house could go to pot.  (This was the day of the craft fail). 

I then decided that all rules were off.  Heck… lets have banana splits for breakfast.

Way to pamper your kids #3: Break the rules.

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Notice that not once does Logan look at the camera.  He was completely in love with that banana split.  It reminded me of the time we made s’mores for breakfast when our furnace broke. 

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The headlines read that day: “Grumpy mom makes kids happy.”  :)

What kind of pampering is going on in your house this week?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

‘Craft Fail’ no more. :)

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Remember this?  It took me quite a while the next day to figure out how to make them not all look like they had fallen victim to terrible vertigo, but once I finally got it I was SO happy with the results!  Only two birds ended up being weighted correctly to ‘stand’ and the rest I hung from 40lb fishing line so they are ‘floating’.

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The top of the birds is made from the hem of an old linen curtain, and the bottoms are left over quilt squares from past quilts (one of them being the quilt on Logan’s bed, so it matches.)   The entire thing was free (I already had the fishing line.) and I can say that those are my very favorite types of crafts!  I just love turning something that would have been trash into something that I will treasure.  Red heart

Below is the view from Luke’s bed. 

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All the pretty colored bellies make me happy.

Best of all, he loves it!  He will lay there and make happy baby babble to it.  It is quite adorable! 

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5 ways to pamper your children - part 2

It’s been ‘hot’. And I leave that in quotations because it has been on average about 80* in the afternoons here. lol.. so not really ‘hot’… just hot for Western Washington this summer. How sad is that?

My kids don’t get to play in water outside until it is 80* outside… so they haven’t gotten to pull out any kind of water device until this last week.

Way to pamper your kids #2: Just Add Water!

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Above are two squirt bottles that are in the beauty section of Target (these replace squirt guns in our house, and they usually work better anyway!) and then sponge balls (idea from here). 

Two full days of outside water battle fun and a beautiful 7 day forecast.  And my kids have naturally stayed out from underfoot while I do some last minute homeschool prep for the start of our year.  It’s a win/win pampering moment.

Friday, August 26, 2011

{this moment} - First Friends

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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, August 25, 2011

Flavored Water Break

My body requires that I drink about a gallon of water a day.  Yes, you read that right.  Between breastfeeding my 6 month old, P90X, and just it being summer time 100 oz is what is recommended to be by my naturopath to protect my milk supply and head off mastitis (which I have had twice this time around!  Blech!).  But let me tell you, 100 oz of water a day gets BORING.  I started adding lemon and slices of cucumbers into my water.  Then my friend gave me a set of 4 old milk bottles that she found at a garage sale and I went crazy. 

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Here is what we have tried so far (and if it was good for the kids or not):

  • Slices of Lemon
  • Slices of Lime
  • Sliced Watermelon
  • Sliced Watermelon & Sliced Kiwi (kids say no)
  • Slices of Orange
  • Pineapple Sage (my current favorite)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Chocolate Mint
  • Cucumber (we used the lemon cukes out of the garden, they worked great!)
  • Cucumber with Fresh Basil (kids say no.  I thought it was great!)
  • Pineapple
  • Blueberries (kids say no)
  • Lavender (kids say no)

And I am still looking so this is what we are trying next (please, let me know if you have tried any of these!):

  • Slices of Ginger
  • Coffee beans (just a few?)
  • Lavender & Blueberries
  • Celery

I have tried so many different kinds of water in the last few weeks and it has made getting my daily ration of water SO much easier!  I hardly even have to think about it.  I have three or four different kinds of water in my fridge at all times.  It feels like a treat to fill up my cup.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5 ways to pamper your children - Part 1

Sometimes I have tons of time for my children.  Evenings and weekends are spent getting to know them, understanding them, and having cool experiences with them. 

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of everyday life gets away from me and all of a sudden I realize that I haven’t made eye contact with my family for days and everyone's nerves are frayed.  This is when its time to pull out ideas that make sure my kids know they are not forgotten in the chaos of life.

Way #1:  “Room Service!”

I was organizing the school room.  It was a HUGE job and I didn’t have time for interruptions because the baby was blissfully asleep and if I had stopped for everything the bigger kids wanted me to I would have never gotten any progress done in there at all. 

Cyan came in and said “Mom, I am a ballerina. And this is my hotel room.” and she points to her room down the hall.  Now that could have been the end of it… but I knew that because I had hardly seen her all morning she was asking for a bit of attention. She wanted me to engage.  I only had a minute… I had to think fast.  I snuck into her room the next time she was in the bathroom and put our tiny DVD player on her bed with a library movie. The squeals of glee brought Logan into her room and they sat and watched their movie happily until lunch time.  By this time I had made some real progress in the school room and I was feeling rather proud and inventive. 

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They got their lunch of chicken salad on a tray complete with dinner mint and little bottles of lemon water. I knocked on her door and yelled “room service!”.

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I had happy kids the whole entire time I ignored them to get my task done. That was WELL worth the extra few minutes this took to pull off.

What kind of pampering is going on in your house this week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Craft fail!

Excuse the crappy pictures but that’s all I had the energy for this evening.  I had a long day.  I really wanted to craft.  Woke up thinking about it, a friend came over and got me thinking even more about it… and the baby has decided that mobiles are the best thing EVER and I still haven’t finished his.  So that was my project for today. To finish the mobile for over Luke’s bed in the little boy’s room.  I got the pattern from Spool.  I decided to make them more uniform than the examples but still with fun funky fabrics.  I set to work sewing each bird with love and after two flops that I let the baby chew on, I had finally gotten the pattern down:

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Cute huh?  I was on a roll!  I paid my daughter to be a ‘mother’s helper’ to watch the baby while I worked, I took nearly no breaks except to feed baby or make children food all day long.  I worked for about 9 hours straight on this mobile… and when I put it together:

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Yeah… all the birds hang upside-down.  LOL!

I’m sure it can be fixed but I’ll figure out how to fix it… tomorrow.  Right now I’m going to bed.  :P

Local Living ~ Blueberry Season!!

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I have gone to Giles Blueberry Farm since I was 2 years old.  My mom and I used to spend all weekend there and we would dry, freeze, and bake our little hearts out for the next week, all the while gorging ourselves on this seasonal delicacy. 

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I have been able to share this same experience with my children and although we do not usually spend all weekend there (they now offer a already picked option for almost the same price), we do pick them for hours and we do spend the next few days freezing and eating blueberries to our little hearts content!

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25 lbs bought, 6 lbs picked and about a pound eaten and we are all stocked up for the year with this seasonal treat stocked away in our freezer.

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He wasn’t thrilled.  It’s no beef jerky.  ;)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pickles and Beef Jerky

Those are officially my baby’s favorite teething foods.

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With all the eating trouble I have had since he was born it stands to reason that he would have eating trouble too.  We started him on rice and bananas, then moved on to apples and pears… all the first foods type stuff.  And then he started throwing up.  Really badly. 

So I took him off all food but breastmilk (that was of course with me still eating a very limited diet) for the past two weeks.  Just this last week I have started giving him applesauce again… this time with no rice cereal… and I added in digestive enzymes into it before I feed it to him.  So far, so good.

However, he had eaten food for a week or more before we took it away… so the cat was out of the bag.  He knew EXACTLY what we were doing and he wanted it.  NOW. 

I bought some beef jerky for Don (who is doing Paleo) for a camping trip and Luke watched him eat it and started yelling at him.  I figured since he doesn’t have teeth it is probably safe to let him gnaw on it for a while.  The kid was in heaven!  He spent an hour or more with his treat and he was like a dog with a new chew toy… just sitting in his Bumbo and gnawed and gnawed all the while drooling and talking happy baby babble.

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Then yesterday afternoon at lunch he grabbed at Don’s pickle.  We assumed that he would taste it, make a face and put it down…. nope.  Again.  Loved it!  Another hour of happy baby babble and not even one sour face.

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So as of right now, my baby has had applesauce, pickles, and beef jerky.  No stomach issues at all.  It certainly isn’t anything I would have chosen, but it seems to be working out better than what I was trying a few weeks ago.  And it makes him very, very happy.  :)

Oh, and he’s 6 months old today. 

Yeah. 

I don’t think it’s possible either.

Friday, August 19, 2011

{this moment} - Flower Child

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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, August 18, 2011

Cloud berry time again!

I often think that wild food is the most satisfying harvest of all.  No work, but all the benefit of mother natures best.  What could be better than that?

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Logan helped me pick 10 cups of wild creeping cloudberries from a roadside patch so we could make this jam.  Quite a few people stopped and asked us what we were doing.  A couple even tasted the berries from my sweet preschoolers basket by the time we were done, our bellies were as full as our baskets. (Logan was so willing to give everyone who came by a berry.  It was kinda adorable!  And very clear that he *loved* the berries and wanted to share the love.)

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The jam turned out so incredible.

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I used white peaches as a filler fruit. It has this sweet tangy flavor that is very unique and yet so delicious! 

I need to go back and get more of them so we can make some Anyberry Bars, but for now, this slathered on pancakes during our camping trip this weekend just about heavenly!  I even sent a jar home with a camping buddy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From the garden - local as local gets.

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I have never planted onions before.  But this year I found a packages of Walla Walla onion sets for 99 cents!  So I grabbed them up and fit them into my garden scheme.  What a satisfying 99 cents that was!  Just look at this incredible basket of freshly cured onions I harvested yesterday!  It’s just beautiful!  I think these will be on our list for things to plant from now on.  They are very satisfying.  :)

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And beans… they are always a crowd pleaser!  I got to pick tons of them for dinner… mix with garlic and a bit of salt… serve.  YUM!

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These have turned out to be a new favorite too.  They are called 8 Ball Zucchini… they are very round versions of that summer favorite and I have really loved having them.  Because they are round they don’t touch the ground quite as quickly making them much less prone to rot in our cold, wet climate.  You are supposed to pick them when they are the size of an 8 Ball (as the name suggests), but last night I harvested two that were about as big around as a personal watermelon and they were still delicious!

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I mixed in some organic chicken sausage, peppers, and a TON of yummy garlic and that was dinner. 

And for dessert?

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A teaspoon of sugar went a long way with these garden babies… brought out the flavor just perfectly for my crew.  Enjoyed every bite!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Making Giggles & Being Grumpy

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My sweet boys are starting to interact.  Their room is starting to look completely finished and Luke is starting to nap in there more and more. 

Logan is loving being the big brother.  I think the idea of a rough and tumble little brother to play with is starting to appeal.

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This is just a great picture.  The lighting and the look on Logan’s face are just lovely.  I know it isn’t a happy look, but it is a look that is very ‘Logan’.  lol… he has always had very distinct features and an intense disposition.  He is very sweet, don’t get me wrong… he is even sensitive… but he is also VERY strong willed and intense.  I often call him my little ball of fire. 

Luke has the same face.  That face that looks just like Logan’s.  But as he gets older, he has a very different personality.  Softer, less intense and more easily adjusted.  You can see it in the set of his eyebrows and the curve of his mouth.  In the face that looks so much like Logan’s, Luke says ‘sweet’ while Logan says ‘strong’. 

I wonder what the future will bring for my sweet and strong baby boys.

Friday, August 12, 2011

You had me at “peanut chocolate granola”

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Warning… this granola is so good you may not stop eating it.  It’s super frugal too, only costing me about $2.80 for enough to fill a glass gallon jar - so is the equivalent of more than 3 boxes of granola from the store. 

Here’s the recipe:

Peanut Chocolate Granola

1. Preheat oven to 300*

2. Combine in a large bowl:

10 cups combined rolled oats, barley, and triticale.

1 cup sunflower seeds

2 cups roasted peanuts

3. Stir together in a sauce pan on med/low :

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup honey

1 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tbs Chocolate Extract

1 1/2 tea salt

4. Mix into the dry mixture until completely saturated.

5. Spread into two baking pans (I used 9X13 Pyrex) and Bake at 300* for 40 minutes... stirring frequently (set a timer for every 7 minutes or so).

6. As soon as it starts to look dry and brown, take out of the oven, stir thoroughly, and allow to cool.

7. When it’s cool, add in: 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips.  I added mine in before it was completely cool and the chocolate chips melted a little bit, making these super yummy clusters of chocolate covered with oats.  YUM!

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

In the cold month of August

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I would love to say that my garden is flourishing…  and it is… sort of.  But we are just now getting June bearing strawberries and our VERY first tomatoes and green beans.  The sunflowers started opening last week.  A month late.  They usually open around the 4th of July.  For Pacific NW gardeners, the weather has been frustrating to say the least.  I am trying to enjoy our 78 minutes of summer and we are planning two camping trips for the next few weeks so I am really hoping it warms up again!

Even with the crazy cold weather I have gotten some summer projects started.

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This chicken coop was a hand-me-down from a friend and I have always loved it!  I am remodeling it to make it something even more beautiful for my bitties to live in.  I will show you the finished product soon I hope.  Just got the rest of the paint yesterday! (Notice behind the chicken coop the dead grass?  At least it has been warm enough for that!  Or has it just been dry enough for that?  Even our pastor said last week that we should get out in this ‘balmy 70* weather for a while and nobody better complain to God about heat!’  lol!)

In other news, I just discovered Zaycon Foods.  Has anyone else used this?  The only thing I have ordered so far has been peaches which arrive at the end of August and so I can’t speak to the quality but I can tell you that the price was amazing!  $16 per box.  Right from a local source.

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Family news:  Don started the Paleo diet this last week.  Not sure how long it will last for my carb loving husband, but we will see.  It’s kinda trendy, so I am super skeptical as usual and am sticking with Nourishing Traditions and Marco for me and the kids.  Minus the dairy and soy.  I have thought and chatted with people about this diet a lot lately.  I would love to hear thoughts on it from you guys. 

That’s about it from here.  I have a huge dentist apt this morning.  I am hoping to get the chicken coop fully painted this afternoon, but I may be on my couch with an icepack on my face.  :P

Blessings to you all for a beautiful Thursday!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

In my kitchen on a Friday

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First this afternoon I perfected a new recipe which I will be sharing on here later for chocolate peanut granola.  Definitely not a health food, but still whole food and oh so very very good!

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Then in the evening I proudly picked my first ‘8 ball’ zucchini, topped my basil plants, and pulled my first cured onions! 

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I mixed all that together in my own version of stovetop, cheese free Ratatouille.  The kids thought this was a great meal.  Cyan’s quote of the night was “I actually kind of liked the peppers.  PEPPERS.  That’s weird.”