Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin Should be in EVERYTHING

I've made this bread 4 times in three days. Its rare that all four kids love a recipe and they all love this one. Its easy to make and your house will smell like an autumn dream.

Pumpkin Bread
by Angela Liddon
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 50-55 mins

Ingredients (one loaf)
  • Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cups white flour  
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat or packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
Wet ingredients
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup or agave
  • 1 cup canned butternut squash or canned pumpkin (I used pumpkin)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 ground flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water, mixed) (I used one egg)
To stir in
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped and toasted if desired
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment and then lightly grease with oil.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir well until fully incorporated. Be careful not to over mix. You want to stop stirring just when it comes together. Fold in the nuts.
  • Place the pan into the oven preheated to 350F. Bake for approx. 50 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from pan for about 30 mins. 
  • Note: this is a dense, heavy bread.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Track Day

I like how in this big Alternate School picture Jacob is kissing Scarlet on the head.

Play dough and Planet Earth

In case you are unaware of the four layers of our planet, here is a diagram.

We made up our different playdough colors and got to work on our Earth ball.

"Every child is an artist.
The problem is how
 to remain an artist
once she grows up."

- Pablo Picasso

We made the Earth ball with four different colors to show the layers of the Earth. So when we sliced the Earth in half this is how it looked inside.

At the end we combined all our Earths to make one giant tie dye looking ball.

Hiking Bear's Hump

Timmy is out of town so the kids and I spent our Saturday in Waterton. The weather has been so lovely and today it was extra lovely- especially for Waterton this time of year.  We got up early, had our pancakes and then made up our minds to hike up Bear's Hump. The kids packed all kinds of things in their backpacks. Jacob's pack was full of toys for Scarlet. Jane had a full tea party set ready for the picnic at the top and Charlie had a book to press plants, and a handkerchief tied around a handful of walnuts.

 Poor Janey got stung by a bee within minutes of our departure but besides that, things worked out pretty good. I was wondering how Scarlet would do, since she's only 2 years old  but by some miracle she walked the whole way up. Scarlet's 2 year speed and my 6 months pregnant speed actually matched up great and the other three just cruised up ahead of us slowpokes. Jacob and Charlie got to to the top and then they both ran down to Scarlet and I to report that it looks, "exactly like New Zealand" at the top. They were so excited about that. Last week we studied New Zealand for Geography so that made my day that they thought of that. Then they ran back up ahead of us again. 

On the way down Scarlet went in my baby pack so I was packing her on my back and a 2 pound fetus on the front- that wasn't my favorite part but its a short hike so we survived.
I couldn’t live where there were no trees — 
something vital in me would starve.
    ~L.M Montgomery 

This is the top of Bear's Hump. 

There were lady bugs everywhere so Scarlet was amused by that most of the time.

Can you see the New Zealand resemblance??

Lady bug up the shirt sleeve.

After the hike we played by the water for a long time. I am trying to maximize this good weather before we get cooped up all winter. Jane especially thrives outside. Every free moment she gets, she's out the door. When we go down to the water she walks way far off by herself and gets lost in what we call "nature-land".

 I love these next pictures of Jacob. He gathered some skipping rocks then went down to the water and found a nice little spot to himself.
 Then he realized he was actually quite tired from all that hiking...
 I like kids that can sleep anywhere- I will take credit for those genes :0)
 The real treat came at the end of our day when our friends found us down by the water. We got to have a delightful visit and it was nice to share the beauty of the day with good friends.

  When truly present in nature.
 We do use all our senses at
 the same time, which is the 
optimum state of learning.”
 ~The Nature Principle, p. 25

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pie and Pals

Isn't she a beauty! We got to have the Wood kids over to play and then afterwards we had a little birthday celebration for this lovely momma. I made my first Banana Pudding Pie (see recipe below) and Tobin ate my piece! (He didn't really it's an inside joke). Since Jody is a real life Bee Keeper, this poem is dedicated to her.

The Song of the Bee
By Marian Douglas
Buzz! buzz! buzz!

This is the song of the bee.

His legs are yellow;

A jolly, good fellow,

And yet a great worker is he.

In days that are sunny

He’s getting his honey,

In days that are cloudy

He’s making his wax:

On pinks and on lilies,

And gay daffodillies,

And columbine blossoms, 

He levies a tax!

Buzz! buzz! buzz!

The sweet-smelling clover,

He, humming, hangs over;

The scent of the roses

Makes fragrant his wings:

He never gets lazy;

From thistle and daisy,

And weeds of the meadow,
Some treasure he brings.

Buzz! buzz! buzz!

From morning’s first light

Till the coming of night,

He’s singing and toiling

The summer day through.

Oh! We may get weary,
And think work is dreary;

‘Tis harder by far

To have nothing to do.

Banana Pudding Pie 
  • Vanilla Wafer Crust (recipe below)
  • Vanilla Pudding (recipe below)
  • Whipped Cream (recipe below)
  • 3-4 medium bananas, cut into slices
  • 20 vanilla wafers plus more for decoration (see note)
Vanilla Wafer Crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 30) crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1/2 cup butter  I used coconut oil and it was fantastic.
Vanilla Pudding (doubled)
  • 1  1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
For the crust:
In a medium bowl, stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter  or coconut oil until blended. Firmly press on bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool.

For the pudding: Whisk together sugar, flour, eggs, yolks and milk in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 10-12 minutes or until it reaches the thickness of chilled pudding. (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will be thick enough to hold soft peaks when whisk is lifted. It must be thick and slightly bubbly to set up properly!) Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic directly on top of the custard so it doesn't get a "skin" on it. Refrigerate til completely cool. (Can be made up to a day in advance.)
Whipped Cream: In a medium bowl, whip cream on medium high speed til soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat til thick and stiff. Don't overbeat or you'll have butter!
Assembly: Arrange half of the banana slices evenly over bottom of cooled crust. Spread 1/3 of cooled pudding over bananas, then layer with 20 vanilla wafers. Spread 1/3 more pudding over vanilla wafers, then add the remainder of the banana slices and cover them with the last of the pudding. Spread the whipped cream over the entire pie and decorate with more vanilla wafers if desired.
The layers from the bottom up should be: vanilla wafer crust, bananas, pudding, vanilla wafers, pudding, bananas, pudding, whipped cream
Refrigerate at least for 4 hours. Overnight is best. Consume within 2 days.
Also I used an entire box of vanilla wafers for the pie. If you want to decorate with additional wafers then get a second box to be on the safe side.

Make me. Eat me. Be happy.

Gak Day

Like Magic

I want to write about school today because it was one of those everything-went-smooth-and-easy days. If I record these days then on the brutal-torture days I can come back to these posts and remind myself that there's good days and bad days.

When we woke up, 8 am, it was a rainy cozy day. The kids went outside to take care of the bunnies and I made hot chocolate and oatmeal of breakfast, then I had time to read my scriptures before they came in. Once they came in, we ate, then got dressed and washed up and cleaned rooms and came up to the school room. We had a scripture lesson about Obedience and we each wrote a page about that for our scripture notebook. We also practiced the hymn we've been working on, Where Can I Turn For Peace

Next, the kids wrote out their spelling words for the week using our Apple Letters, which are basically fancy Scrabble tiles.

Then, we did about an hour of math.

Then, we looked over the file folder I got out for today which was a temperature matching game.

Then, the kids got out their projects. They are each making a lapbook (my friend Amber shared this idea with me in June so I had the summer to learn about them and I think the kids will really like it).  We gathered our supplies (library pockets, mini file folders, glassine pockets, velcro, accordian paper, brads, paper clip, staples, pencil crayons, tape, glue, ruler etc.) and got started. We had already checked out our books from the library and perused them, so we were ready. Jane chose to study horses, Jacob is doing whales and Charlie is doing Peregrine Falcons because he is reading The Far Side of the Mountain.

***Sidenote: I bought a bucket jockey from Home Depot for $10 and stuck it on a bucket to contain all our lapbook supplies and projects. Today was the first day we tried it out and it worked like a charm.

When we finished and came downstairs for lunch, it was 2:30 pm. I couldn't believe the time. We usually come down much earlier but today was just flowing. We had lunch and then I helped Charlie with his piano practice and Jane with her cello homework.

DONE for the day! It was sunny out by then so the kids went out to run around for a while. My visiting teachers came over, Tim got home, I went to the gym. Through out all this, Scarlet is potty training and up to this point in the day she had no accidents so that was an added bonus.

Jacob taught us a beautiful FHE, we had healthy fruit pizza, Timmy read stories then put the kids to bed.

It was a fulfilling day and I am grateful because this is what gets me through the long, frustrating ones. I think it probably had a lot to do with me starting the day off with my own scripture reading, having a plan for the kids ready and not having anything else scheduled to interrupt us. 

So today, I love homeschool. I'll see how tomorrow goes and then I'll know if that statement is still true.


I've been wanting to make this homemade laundry soap and since I had
so much Borax left over from the day we made slime, I figured now was the time. 

Homemade Laundry Soap

1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers

Grate your bar of soap into your pot.

Fill one gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap. Cook until the grated soap dissolves.

Add the Borax and washing soda.

Bring to a boil. It will coagulate.

Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir well.

Pour 1 gallon of your detergent into each container.

A funnel helps tremendously.

Now you have 2 gallons of homemade laundry detergent. I use 1/2 cup per load. With the prices of detergent being outrageous, I feel really happy every time I make a batch of this.

This won't make many, if any, suds. Suds don't equal clean. It took a while to get that into my head. This detergent cleans wonderfully!

Happy washing!

estimated cost is $6.00 for 576 loads (depending on soap used and amount used per load, One BOX of Borax and Washing soda)

Woah Marvelously Woah Good

From ohsheglows again!
 I am so not a natural in the kitchen, so when I find healthy recipes that taste good and that even I can make perfectly, then it must be a good recipe.

I made this for  the treat after Jacob's super duper FHE lesson tonight. He did such a sweet job at teaching all of us. Near the end of the lesson he said that he wants to go on a mission and after adoring him the whole time he taught us, I wasn't so sure I liked him saying that. I had a nice little cry at the thought of him leaving for 2 years someday and then we had tasty fruit pizza. 

Ingredients (8-12 slices)
I doubled the crust part but not the avocado part. This made enough crust for one cookie sheet and there was lots of avocado whip left even though it was not doubled.
Cinnamon-sugar pizza crust
  • 1 cup + 3/4 cup white bread flour, divided 
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp pizza yeast (no proofing required)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2/3 cup very warm water
  • more flour for kneading dough
Avocado-Lime Whip
  • 4 avocados
  • Fresh lime juice from half a lime (approx 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut milk (We didn't have any so I left this out)
  • 12 tbsp icing sugar (confectioner’s)
  • Fruit salsa: Chop up a mixture of strawberries, mandarin oranges, mango, kiwi, and raspberries. Add in blueberries too. You will want about 2-3 cups of the salsa.
  • Fruit layer: Mandarin, strawberries (sliced), blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi (sliced), mango (sliced), and whatever else your little heart desires! Peach would be good too.
For crust
  • 1. Preheat oven to 500F. I did 425 F In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, plus the salt, sugar, cinnamon, yeast. Stir well. Now quickly add 2/3 cup very warm water along with 3 tbsp oil. Stir well. It will be very sticky but not to worry.
  • 2. Now add in 3/4 cup- 1 cup more flour, gradually, as you stir. Once the flour is in, grab the dough and place on floured surface.
  • 3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding flour as it gets tacky. After 5 mins the dough should be smooth and not tacky. Form into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Cover the ball with a bit of oil so it doesnt dry out. Now cover the bowl and let it rise for 1.5 hours. You can punch out the air halfway through.
  • 4. After rising time, punch air out and spread into an oiled pizza pan I used a cookie sheet or you can place it directly onto a preheated pizza stone. Sprinkle with lots of sugar and bake at 
  • 500F 425 for 14-15 mins. until golden. Cooking time may vary so watch carefully.
For avocado whip
  • In a food processor, add in the avocado, lime juice, and agave. Process until smooth. Now add in the vanilla, melted coconut oil, and coconut milk. As the last step, add in the icing sugar very gradually until the consistency you want is achieved. Cool in fridge for about 30 minutes before using. Spread over the base of cooled & cooked pizza crust.
  • The avocado whip is AMAZING! I couldn't believe how good it was. I made lots of extra fruit salsa and we just dipped fruit in the avocado whip after the pizza was gone. Its will be my new fruit dip recipe from now on.
For Fruit
  • After you have spread on the avocado-lime whip, it is time to layer on the fruit. I started with an outer layer of fruit salsa, followed by a layer of sliced fruit. After those two layers, I did a very small layer of sprinkled coconut, followed by a layer of raspberries, and then finally fruit salsa. I left the inner circle open as I was going to put a large strawberry there, but then we ate it and that was that!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Week Down

I thought the first day would be a good time to make some learning rules. We made a fun poster and kept the rules positive. I didn't want any NO rules,  but more Yes, do this... The kids surprised me with what they came up with. They had super duper good ideas like, "Laugh lots, dance in the living room (which is known to go down around here regularly, and use our Imaginations."
 Do I look like a professional teacher yet? I'm thumbing through the Wizard of Oz which we are half way through (this one is not totally floating their boats.) I'm not in my jammies so that's progress.

 This was day 2, it was one of those, "Is this really happening?" moments. The room was literally dead silent, including Scarlet. Day 3 on the other hand, not quite as smooth, the word grueling comes to mind. But I learned a lot from day 3, and that's a good thing. I also got some good encouragement from home education friends at the creek, the following day and that helped too. As  a reward for working so hard all week, we had a popcorn movie party on Saturday. We watched Treasure Island together (Timmy wanted to see it because he just read it).
 I got these pattern block pages for Jacob but Charlie loved them. Who knew.
 I'm really excited about this. I wanted to get these kids writing this year so I ordered some fun writing stuff to make it more interesting. I got parchment paper, a feather quill pen, black India ink to dip the feather in, and some wax sticks and a wax seal stamp with a fancy "E" for Eaton on it to seal our fancy letters with. The kids were way into it so it was a success. Gramma and Brady are the lucky winners of the first two letters.
 Jane is totally into embroidery right now, which makes me happy. She sits and stitches like a Gramma, while I read to her. She recently mastered the french know which can be pretty tricky. I found this book for her and we both ADORE it. The patterns are kid friendly and marvelous.

Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection: 400+ Easy Embroidery Designs

Weird Post

I don't know who took these next three pictures but it looks like a fun photo shoot.

 This is what our two morning hummingbirds do in the early morning. Get bundled up, with dollies in the backpack, on their way out to the backyard imagination land. I'm glad Scarlet didn't forget her necklace :0)
 Jacob grew carrots this summer and he pulled this one out and nearly lost his marbles with excitement.
 We drove passed this dead porcupine, then turned back to have a closer look. Did you know you can just pluck out the quills for fun? Maybe make some jewelry with them or if your Jacob, you can actually poke the apple you are eating with them... DISGUST.