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Showing posts from July, 2011

Super Duper Power Smoothie

10-12 hour work days, followed by cleaning, cooking, dishes, laundry, gardening, chicken chores, changing diapers, grocery shopping, etc. ~ the list seems never ending. As mothers and/or wives, you all know this list well. I was beginning to believe that only a miracle could help me keep up with the workload and responsibilities in my life. Instead of ignoring my responsibilities by throwing my list in the trash and grabbing a big bowl of Ben&Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream (my fav) to eat while watching "Days of Our Lives"....or running away to a deserted tropical island (this is an occasional fantasy of mine), I turned to the Internet. I was searching for a Miraculous Super Mom Power Boost when I turned to a group of wise moms for suggestions. One mom suggested to check my levels of  iron and Vitamin B. Another suggested chlorophyll, chia seeds and a multivitamin. I frantically looked through my vitamins, ready to try anything, and found I had some B6...that …

Sea Salt Spray

I was thrilled a couple of weeks ago when my daughter asked if we could make a hair product. She usually rolls her eyes at my speeches on the harmful chemicals in which she is applying to her body and is hesitant in trying any of my homemade "beauty" products. I've often thought of sneaking my homemade shampoo into her bottles of shampoo just to see if she'd notice. So I almost fell over when she asked for my help to find and make a recipe for sea spray "stuff" (hair products, other than shampoo, are foreign to me these days). Sea Salt spray gives the "fresh from the beach look". Breanna says that it controls her curly hair from getting too frizzy. The spray was easy to make ~ water, sea salt and little bit of oil.

SEA SALT SPRAY Boil 1 cup of water, remove from heat Add 1 T. Sea Salt, stir until dissolved Add a few drops essential oil of your choice (Breanna had Moroccan Hair oil that she wanted to use) Cool before pouring into a spray bottle 

Laurie's Little Sprouts Make Hamburger Cookies

On Tuesday I took the "Big Sprouts" (six of my school age daycare kiddos) to the Chatfield Public Library's Elementary Summer Reading Program, where they made hamburger cookies. The boys loved it and had so much fun that we decided that we needed to make these at Laurie's house and teach the littles how to make them too!

Buns ~ Vanilla Wafers
Burger ~ Fudge Mint Cookies
Ketchup ~ Red Frosting
Mustard ~ Yellow Frosting

Corn Syrup (I made a simple syrup with sugar and water) to "glue" the sesame seeds to the "bun".

Mayo ~ white frosting
Lettuce ~ green shredded coconut

Notes: To make this project less expensive, I could have made my own frosting or purchased a little tub of white frosting and added food coloring. I decided to spend a little more in the name of convenience. 12 kids can do a lot of damage with frosting. :) The squeezable icing was perfect and much less messy.

Assembly is pretty simple. Add ketchup to the f…

In the Kitchen

Wednesday is typically bread-making day. So yesterday, while the bread was rising, I baked a couple custards. We had bought a bunch of rhubarb at the farmer's market in Eau Claire. My husband loves rhubarb pie. Unfortunately I hate making pie crust. I don't know what it is. It's not that I haven't had any success at making pies but rolling the dough always seems to frustrate me. I feel the same way about rolling out sugar cookies. And lefse. Maybe it has something to do with using a rolling pin. I don't know. Anyway... yesterday morning, before rhubarb was even on my mind, I decided that I wanted to make custard. I had excess milk and eggs to use up so I began my search for a good custard recipe. I stumbled across a rhubarb custard (CRUST-LESS!) pie recipe. Perfect! I get my custard and hubby gets his rhubarb pie. I had intended to make only one pie but found that I had an extra cup of rhubarb. I threw the extra rhubarb in with two cups of raspberries to make the …

Living on the Edge

Let's make this clear. I once was spontaneous. However somewhere along life's path I lost it. I think it happened around the time I turned thirty. I was a single mother of two (Isaiah was a baby, Breanna was 9) and I was determined to create a "better" life for my family. I headed back to school to finish my elementary education degree, I was working, and I was slowly building my savings so that I could buy a house. There wasn't time for spontaneity. When we did do fun things I planned. This may have come from a few camping trips in which I spent hours searching for a campground that had room for us. It is no fun when mama is tired, kids are tired, and you can't find a place to rest.

Quickly learning from my mistakes, I started planning our trips. I remember spending a month planning our trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a summer vacation. I even had a binder filled with maps, itineraries and confirmation numbers for the hotels and campgrounds that …

Wedding on the Cheap

Three years ago my husband and I married. Because we had both been previously married...and on a limited budget, we agreed on a simple, small wedding in our backyard. Although I lean towards practicality, I still dreamed of a fairy tale wedding. The romantic in me wanted a stunning dress, a beautiful location and all the unique little details that would set our day apart from any other. So how does one have simple yet special?

I found that simple (unless simple means eloping) is sometimes harder to pull off than the extravagant. I spent HOURS looking for the perfect, simple, inexpensive dress. I didn't want to look like the mother-of-the-bride. I wanted to look like the bride, however I wanted the dress to be somewhat casual to fit the backyard wedding. I finally decided that what I was looking for didn't exist and I did not possess the time nor the skill to create the dress I had pictured in my mind. I settled for the only dress that even remotely interested me. I purchased…

Lessons We Learned From a Kayak

Isaiah, aka The Boy, has been dreaming of owning a kayak for two years. He decided this spring that he would save the money that he earned from working at his grandparents farm to purchase a kayak. Two weeks ago, he and his kayak hit the water together for the first time. As I watched him paddle around the lake, I reflected on the lessons that, WE, had learned from the kayak.
Lesson 1: Saving money. Isaiah, like many, has a hard time saving money. Ten dollars in his pocket doesn't last long. Every time he wants to spend his money on a cheap toy, I give the same lecture. "Wouldn't you want to save your money for something really cool? Don't you think one million Legos is enough, do you really need more??", etc. until I'd throw my hands in the air, dropped the nagging and say with disgust, "Fine, it's your money." (I know, not a great parenting moment.) When Isaiah decided to start saving for his kayak he realized that if he h…

Butterflies and Singers

It was difficult to get a good picture. This shot (on the right) was taken through the see-through top (I didn't want to risk losing any butterflies before our "release"). We had at least twenty butterflies. The red on the walls is not blood and is a normal occurrence during the transformation process. We took turns, allowing each child to release a butterfly. Very fun.

A couple of months ago I got a "new" machine. Isn't is cool?? However I haven't sewn in about 15 years...not to mention that even when I did sew, I was not very skilled. I remember making my daughter a Pocahontas dress and accidentally sewing the arm holes shut. This is how good I am...or how good I'm not. So my new machine was very imitating. It's old and beautiful and I was terrified that I'd break it. When in need, share it with your facebook friends. Within an hour of posting a picture of my new Singer along with a HELP!, I had a taker. Gramma B. came to my r…

Bread Day!

This morning as I began making my kefir bread, I came across another bread recipe and decided to make my three favorite breads. A bread marathon followed by some taste testing. Personally I can't pick a favorite. I like the artisian bread because I like the look of round loaves (I know, silly, but true). I like the kefir bread because it is very moist. The artisian bread and the nevada bread are my favorites.

Artisian Bread
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 T. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
4 1/2 c. white flour   (I used 2 c. white and 4 1/2 c. wheat)

Add yeast to water and let fester for 5 minutes. Knead in the rest of the ingredients (with kitchenaide/bread hook). Cover and let rise for 1.5 hours. Split into two balls. Knead, shape into round loaves, "slash" the tops and let rise again for 30 minutes. Bake at 450 for 30-34 minutes.

Kefir Bread
3 cups kefir and 3 cups whole wheat flour - cover and leave on counter overnight.

Next morning mix in:
1 T. honey
1.5 t baking soda
3 …