Friday, August 31, 2012
So that's one convenient food that is healthy, economical, ecologically sound, and tastes great!
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
I enjoyed seeing how she chose to illustrate the poem she wrote today. It goes like this:
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Samuel loves doing "school". He likes practicing writing letters and counting anything and everything. He thinks he needs to do school right along with Anna, and I think that was the problem with BFIAR. It wasn't school like enough for him. When I brought out a coloring page for him and Abriel, he said, "I want to do school now, Mommy." When I told him this was his school, he looked at me like I was nuts. I think he's going through a highly curious period. He smells everything, even people; this can be embarrassing. He wants to know the how and the why of everything. But... He is still very three. His idea of school is sitting on my lap while we count his fingers and toes, or me helping him write the letter that he wants to learn that day, not a set "letter of the day".
So, what has our first week of preschool looked like?
They listen pretty well to me reading the Bible in the morning, and some other of Anna's readings have caught their attention. Abriel was very into the D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. We made play dough together and they had a play date with their nephew and niece. They helped make muffins and go grocery shopping. We went to our homeschool co-op on Thursday. They drew many colorful pictures with their new beeswax crayons. We set up our small tent on the deck and played camping for a couple of days. They caught lizards and butterflies, and most of all, played.
This is natural. This is us living our lives, not trying fit into a prescribed schedule, or check off a list of what we should be doing. I like this.
Sometimes our best laid plans don't turn out exactly like we thought, and some times that's just fine.
I like to make a whole bunch at a time, and then freeze them. You can't get more convenient than that.
I recently came up with a new recipe for peanut butter banana muffins. One of our favorite snacks this summer has been peanut butter banana smoothies, so I wanted a muffin that had a similar flavor. They turned out good and moist, and pretty filling too, which is what I wanted. Here's the recipe:
And if you're wondering how they compare with the PB &B smoothies, here's the recipe for that:
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Put in a blender:
2 frozen bananas
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup milk
a couple of table spoons or so of peanut butter.
Blend until smooth. Serves 3-4
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup salt
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- A few drops of food coloring (optional)
- A couple of drops of essential oil
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Slowly add the water mixed with oil and dye and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. When cool enough to handle, kneed until smooth.
Monday, August 20, 2012
My sister and her family joined us later that day, and it was great visiting with her and spending time with my nieces and nephew, who change so much every time I see them. Her older ones, because they are teenagers, and are growing up in light speed, and her younger ones, because they are toddlers, and grow up equally fast.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
You've seen the big picture so many times, that you pay more attention to the little things, that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Things like an interesting caterpillar,
or a turtle sunning on a rock.
It might even be a duck with a weird hairdo,
or a heron, where there are usually just ducks.
Here's the recipe for those who might be looking for a healthier version for themselves:
Sunday, August 12, 2012
The little root children do not stay on there for long, as they are some of Abiel's favorite toys. She sucks on them, carries them everywhere with little grubby hands, and even sleeps with them, but they've held up pretty well.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
- sleeping bags
- air mattress or pads for adults. Kids don't seem to mind the hardness.
- 1 pillow each, except for toddlers
- special blankie for toddlers, doubles as pillow (This is specifically for my toddlers. Yours might be different.)
- 1 warm weather outfit per person per day
- extra outfits for toddlers and babies
- long sleeve shirt or sweater for cool mornings
- jeans, if going hiking
- pajamas. Long cotton pants and a T-shirt is good for warm weather
- sneakers or sturdy sandals. Everyone should be wearing their shoes. You don't need two pairs.
- rain ponchos, if you feel like being extra prepared
- underthings (you know what you need)
- Swim suits if near water
- Books for the kids and you.
- Quiet activity, like crayons and coloring books or jacks
- active activity, like a frisbee and jump rope.
- quilt or ground cloth for little ones to sit on
- folding chairs
- firewood, or come prepared to buy wood at exorbitant prices
- kindling and scrap paper
- wash cloths
- personal toiletries. Facial soap, deodorant, etc.
- toothbrushes and toothpaste
- wet wipes, or extra ones if your bringing them anyways for diaper changes. These are great for quick sticky mess clean up.
- clothes line you can string from a couple of trees. Really great if you're near water
- dish washing soap
- washing tub. I use a plastic tote that I can pack stuff in when not in use.
- dish towel
- camp stove
- paper towels
- dishes. I have metal ones for camping, but if you don't have something that packs well, bring disposable plates, cups, and forks
- pots and pans necessary for anything you are planning to cook
- Cooking spoon, if you don't bring metal ones
- matches and lighter
- cutting board, if you are going to be cutting up stuff at the campsite.
- table cloth
- percolating coffee pot (This is a must for me!)
- Insect repellent
- first aid kit that includes:
- band-aids and gauze bandages
- eye saline
- tylenol, both adult and children's
- antibacterial ointment
- burn ointment
- any meds you might have (Actually, this should be put in with your toiletries)
This isn't a list, so much as suggestions and tips.
Breakfast can be elaborate or simple, depending on how much you like campside cooking. I personally don't like getting up at the crack of dawn to fry bacon, so I bring ready made food. Things like boiled eggs, hearty muffins, and granola with milk, make filling breakfasts that you don't have to cook.
For lunch I like sandwiches. They're easy and healthy and you can change up the fillings. My kids favorite is peanut butter and honey, which is great because nothing has to be kept cool. Dave likes meat, cheese, and vegetable sandwiches, so for these I have everything pre-sliced and in separate containers. Cucumbers are more compact and less messy than lettuce or tomatoes.
Supper: If you pre make a soup or stew, put it in a freezer bag and freeze it. It packs well like this, and also helps keep the other food in the cooler cold. Just remember to bring a pot to reheat it in. For hamburgers, pre-form the patties and freeze, separating each one with a square of wax paper, then putting them in a freezer bag.
Ice for the cooler should be put in sealable plastic bags before you put it in the cooler. If just dumped in the cooler, water from the melting ice will creep into everything and make it yuck! Ask me how I know.
Pack a desert you don't have to keep cool, like spice cake or brownies. (Or smores!) If you want whipped cream with desert, put whipped cream in a mason jar in the cooler, and then when your ready to eat it, let your kids shake it till it turns to whipped cream.
If your kids guzzle milk, look for milk that doesn't have to be refrigerated. I bought a big pack of Horizon Organic vanilla flavored milk for this camping trip. Don't forget coffee cream. This note is for me;) . If you like sugar in your in coffee, (I don't) get a sweetened cream, so you don't have to pack sugar as well.
Snacks are a must for camping, as there isn't much else to do but eat. However if I eat a whole bunch of junk food it takes me weeks to recover from camping, so I try to get healthy snacks like fruit and nuts.
A bottle of wine for you and your spouse is awfully nice after the children are in bed. Time to relax and talk is my favorite thing about camping.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
So I have decided to make some nice pretty shopping bags, that I can be proud to have sitting in my cart. I've been up to my ears with making stuff for my etsy shop, but I managed to find time to make one bag.
When we first moved here six years ago, I built a scrappy little compost bin, and went about learning how to compost the "right" way. All gardening books I read, recommended an elaborate set up of perfectly balanced green and brown materials with added fertilizers and ashes, all perfectly layered. If done right, the compost would heat up and turn into wonderful humus in a matter of weeks. The problem with that is, it's not practical. Who has heaps of "green" material just laying around? No one. Green stuff turns to brown pretty quick. It's called decomposition. I even read one book that recommends keeping your kitchen waste in a plastic tub, until you were ready to start a new pile. Yuck; that method is not for me.
So that leaves the other method. Dump it and forget it. This works OK, because you can add kitchen scraps, weeds, grass clippings, etc. over time, but it takes a long time for everything to break down and turn to dirt. The third method, that I have never seen in any gardening book, is my method of composting.
When I've let a bit of green stuff pile up, I get my pitch fork and scoop some of the brown stuff onto the the green pile. I do this until I run out of brown stuff, and then the newly emptied side of the bin becomes the green pile. The stuff on the left is now brown, and can be layered onto the new green pile. The benefit to doing it this way, is turning the piles helps it break down quickly, and layering the brown with the green also helps it not to smell. Simple, practical, and efficient. What's not to love?
So what do you put in a compost pile? Anything that can rot.
Other than food waste, I also put paper towels, shredded newspapers, and cardboard egg cartons into the compost bucket. It gets emptied every day to every other day. Any longer than that, and it starts to smell. The stainless cleans up easily, and it's really not a hassle. I like knowing that I'm turning garbage into lovely dirt I can use in my gardens, and I'm also keeping a lot of trash out of the trash.