Give Me A Break

Hey, for those of you who DO keep checking for new posts – I am sorry about the silence. I’m having one of those times in life where I am readjusting and figuring things out… again and again. That’s part of life and for sure a part of being a parent.

A couple of weeks back I did some major re-organizing after we put the boys in a shared room. I looked back through my folders of school projects we have done so far. The weeks that we worked on letters A-K look fantastic. The folders are practically falling apart, stuffed with coloring pages and crafts. Guess what? Those are the weeks I had planned out. When L and M came along, I was just winging it day to day. It’s what I needed to do at the time, but I’m realizing now that I want to do it right.

I’m taking a break for a few weeks. We just had some nasty sickness and I’m still tired, plus I have two upcoming shows (I’m in aband called LB Jeffries) and then some much needed family time set aside.

I will be back and am considering a revisit to letters L and M and continue on from there. There’s no point in getting stressed over not being totally organized, but I am realizing that this school time / craft time is really worth doing and so I want to do it right.

I think the school stuff we have done so far have made a difference: Dig spelled his name out (D-a-v-i-d) yesterday on a Valentine’s card for his Daddy! He knew how to do the D and i without visual aid, but I helped him with the a, v and d by writing them first and he looked at them and then did it! What a little smarty pants.

I’ll ‘see’ you back here in a few weeks!


February 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm 2 comments

When Life Gives You Lemons

Who’s in the mood for lemonade in the middle of winter? Not me.

So what am I supposed to do with the 10 lemons that I have from the produce co-op? I had 5 and my mom gave me more before she left town a couple of days ago.

Lemonade is really a summertime drink, isn’t it. So what is wintery? Getting fat, that’s what.

I looked in the back of my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook under ‘lemon’ and came across some lemon-pistachio biscotti. I don’t have any pistachios, or nuts of any kind for that matter, but I figured we could skip them and just make lemon biscotti. Dig was a great helper in the kitchen, scooping and pouring sugar and flour into the mixing bowl. He had a great time. 3 lemons down, 7 to go.

I have often missed the lemon curd on toast that was readily available at the Robinson’s house in England. The Robinson’s were the most lovely family that let me live with them for 2 six-month stints in England and became like a family to me. Every time Jonathan and I have gone back, they are at the top of our list of people to spend time with. I have purchased lemon curd from World Market before, but at around $5 for a small jar it has been years since I even considered buying it again.

So 6 lemons when into a big bowl of lemon curd. I will split it up and freeze 2 thirds of it and keep 1 third in the fridge to use over the next week.

Only 1 lemon left, but I think I should be done baking for the day – I need to focus on cleaning up the big mess instead… Come to think of it, lemon is a great cleaning agent, perhaps I will use it to clean my counters.

February 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

Mm is for Monkey

Step 1: Do a rough draft of the monkey face with marker on your paper plate.

Step 2: Glue the monkey face pieces that your mum cut out on to the paper plate.

Step 3: Act like you're all done and finished with the monkey face.

Step 4: You were not done. Improve upon the original with lots of glue and extra pieces of paper. Now it is a REAL work of art.

January 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

Mm is Mostly for Mustache

Today we started up the Mms. I could really go for some m&m’s at the moment, but luckily we have none.

I originally started the school time today with coloring and talking about men. Dig and I discussed – whilst he colored – men: careers, roles, etc. We talked a lot about “men” jobs (okay, I know I’m really pissing some of you off right now, but oh well) – fireman, postman, policeman. Of course, we know that women are capable of these jobs and all that, but we were just talking about men today, and they have these careers, too… Okay?

We also talked about one of a man’s most important jobs – being a daddy! Dig talked very briefly about his own daddy.

But… as soon as I started showing him the letter Mm and telling him what sound that letter makes, Dig said, very excitedly, “Mmmm, mmm, MUSTACHE!!!”

So how could I resist, making the rest of our school time all about mustaches.


January 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

It’s The Simple Things That Make You Crazy

I read in a gardening book that many people are making (this was 1970s) an attempt at living a simpler life – which inevitably leads to growing your own food, sometimes raising your own animals, making things by scratch. The book points out that this attempt at living a “simpler” way is, in fact, more complicated.

I’m a stay-at-home mom. I am so blessed that we have made this a priority for our family! It would be easy to think that we need more, therefore mummy has to go work to get it. I take my “job” seriously. Jonny and I have two wonderful boys that God has given to us – no one else – and we take it to heart to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).

Part of my job as the stay-at-homer is to make it my duty to find us ways to save money – to make a one income home a bit easier on the ole wallet.

I don’t know who in the world would think it is “simpler” to make all of your food by scratch, but that is what I am doing. I have resolved to be making our salad dressings, our bread, dinners, desserts (occassionally!), and anything else I can think of. A benefit of doing this is definitely financial: flour, yeast, bran, salt, grains, they cost pennies. But I also have the benefit of knowing exactly what goes into our bellies. A bottle of salad dressing will have 20 different ingredients (including sugar), but a homemade dressing can have anywhere from 1-5 ingredients. It is also more expensive and difficult to find any desserts made with all or partial whole wheat, breads without corn syrup, cereals without a sugar coating. We have eaten a lot of beans and brown rice lately (and oh man, if you think yuck when you hear “beans and rice”, you haven’t tried Brazilian Beans from More-With-Less!).

Anyway, I’m kind of rambling here, I know. I am in that odd mood of being very proud with what I have done around our home, and being so tired from doing it and wishing I could run out and get a pizza!

But why would I want pizza when we are having asparagus strata made with:

•fresh asparagus and bulb onions (thanks to the produce co-op I am now a member of I can use twice the veggies for a healthier casserole without breaking the bank – see the pic above to see what I picked up last Saturday – thanks goes out to Carly for spreading the news!)
•homemade English muffins (from a weight watchers cookbook – super easy microwave baked),
•a healthy (that means meager) helping of bacon, chicken and cheese
•eggs from our chickens

Plus a rare treat of dessert: lemon bars, made from scratch, with a diminished amount of sugar and a half-whole-wheat crust.

Bet you wish you had something so simple for your dinner, eh?

January 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm 1 comment

Crafty Christmas – B&T’s Fingerless Extravaganza

I named this post purely from the inspiration I received from these photos my sister sent me.

When you want to send gifts to people you love overseas, unfortunately you have to take postage costs into consideration. I wanted to make Bethany and Tomas each something useful, small, handmade with love.

Enter fingerless mittens.

Can anyone have too many pairs of these?

These pictures are somewhat creepy, I’m not quite sure why, but that makes me love them all the more.

I managed to use leftover yarn for both of these pairs. It is projects like these that make me glad I saved leftover scraps of wool. I simply chose coordinating colors for each pair and used the ole fray-lick-rub/felt technique (my own name for it) to attach the yarn together (instead of having all of those ends to weave in). Thus the project is thrifty AND nifty.

January 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

Making Tortillas

There have been a few times that I’ve wanted to make tortillas for our family instead of buying them. Up until now I have talked myself out of it. I thought it would be too much trouble.

But necessity strikes! I am making bread today. This afternoon. It took me all morning to just tidy up the kitchen. So I needed a quick fix for the boys’ lunch and decided to make some tortillas. We wanted fajitas tonight anyway.

I used my new trusty kitchen assistant More-With-Less – thanks to Jonny who gave it me for Christmas. I knew that it would contain the very recipe I needed, and it didn’t let me down.

Like any health-conscious person, I opted for a version other than (more than) plain white tortillas. I made a mix of white flour, whole wheat flour, wheat bran, and corn flour. I now know that next time I will roll them a bit thicker, but they taste absolutely delicious.

My boys just enjoyed their quesadilla lunch and are full of some whole grainy, fibery goodness as they now run around wreaking havoc on the house.

January 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm 1 comment

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