Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

“I don’t know how you get anything done.”  – my mom

“I don’t.” – me

I actually have really great kids, good kids, but what I wouldn’t give to have two more arms and hands.  I would be totally be ok with all the staring because I know everyone would be looking at me with envy.  I would have used those extra appendages to hold my unusually fussy baby while trying to make raspberry mango jam I was working on with my mom this afternoon.

Eyes in the back of my  head would also be handy for so many reasons that I know my fellow parents would recognize.  Today I would have used those eyes to watch my daughter swinging on her indoor jungle gym when she said, “Mom!  Look at meeeeee!”  while simultaneously stirring the raspberry mango jam.

What did I learn today?  That doing  all the above AND make granola at the same time may not have been the best idea.  At one point in the afternoon I asked my mom, “How did YOU get anything done with three kids?”

“You were all angels.” – mom

OK, that is a total lie.  I know, I was there, so she must be suffering from some sort of parental amnesia, whatever, it wasn’t helpful.  But things were done and now we’re all pooped and the kids went to bed pretty easily.

And so will I.

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I have made no secret about  my love of toast so this small batch will not last long at all in my house.  While very easy to do, I still find myself a little intimidated by the whole canning process. It’s that element of danger with all those bubbling, boiling fluids.  I only got splattered a couple times so I’m calling the day a success.  My goal is to continue with small batches to increase my confidence.  Luckily between my mom and my foodie sister I will be a pro in no time.


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While working on this project over here we’re hemorrhaging money like nobody’s business.  As a result I’m learning to do some money save activities with Daughter #1.  It’s my ongoing effort to teach her that no, you don’t have to go somewhere every day and no, you don’t have to go to the park every day (I had gotten myself into the habit of that when we lived within walking distance of at least three great parks – then we moved.).  Beside, we’ll soon be living on 5 acres of land – there you go – instant park.

First stop – the good old public library.  Ya know, those librarians in the kids section there to help you find books on the topic you’re interested in – I use them all the time and they’re always so enthusiastic about helping me.  Asked for books on things to do with a 3 year old, outdoor activities with a 3 year old and books about death and dying grandparents – my dad has been sick…

I left the library with more books than I could hope for and we have several projects picked out to try out but one book!  No, we don’t have all the supplies that many of the projects ask for but I’m trying to put together a craft box with a par stock of essentials on hand so a crafty book is helping with accomplishing that task.

Next stop:  the chamber of commerce to find out what current events are happening in our area.  We’re lucky, October has a lot of events happening that we can look forward to and maybe riff off of with a crafting theme.

Do comment on any other ideas for inexpensive/free activities you do with your toddler!

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I was shocked and amazed when I received my very first gardening catalog in the mail the other day.  It’s such an honor to be acknowledged by the industry!  Word must have gotten out about the success of my container garden this year!

To be able to create something with your own hands and effort is an amazing thing and now to be considered amongst the gifted, well… (more…)

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We had our first “crop” harvest from the container garden Sofia and I started weeks ago!  Kale, Swiss Chard and Spinach all these healthy perky looking leaves ready to be picked (or at least looked that way) rather than the limp, lifeless stuff you buy at the grocery store.

And all we did was add water!  Then we watched and watched and fretted a bit.  It was really soo sooo simple:  buy the starts, plant, water and enjoy!

Over and over again as the plants will continue to reproduce as you take more leaves off.  A nice return on your investment.  Of course now that I’m a gardening expert I’m wishing I had planted more starts in the pot – now I know.

Leafy greens – you’re always being told to eat more.   They are totally versatile and a great start to start with for a new gardener like me!  Also, it’s been a fun project to do with Sofia.

Now the tasting was a little different story.  While Sofia was gung-ho to try that curly  kale as soon as I brought it into the house before I even washed it at dinner she put the whole leaf in her mouth and chewed for a while then said matter of factly that she didn’t like it and wanted to spit it out.  We have a no spitting out rule in our house so we talked her into to chewing it real quick and washing it down with some soy milk.

I thought the raw kale might have been too bitter for her but good effort for trying!

Tip:  need a good way to bulk up a meal and not bulk up on the calories at the same time?

Add veggies!  And I’m not talking frozen corn and sweet peas which have no nutritional value and only raise you blood sugar level for no good reason.  Chop up a giant handful of leafy greens – when you put them in a warm dish it softens them up to a really nice texture.  Earlier this week I made a big pot of quinoa to make a variation on my earlier recipe.  While it was cooking I cut up some brocolini into really small chunks.  Once the quinoa was done and off the burner I threw in the brocolini and put the lid back on the pot.  End result:  perfectly cooked veggies for my quinoa salad.

Oh, another good example:  my awesome cook of a sister  made this vat of cheesy pasta with grilled chicken and veggies.  Well, it wasn’t as healthy as it could have been and the veggies were hard to spot unless you were really looking.  Solution:  my organic delivery box had some kale rabe in it last Friday (wasn’t sure what to do with it) so I stripped off all the leaves and chopped them into confetti.  After nuking the pasta I would throw in a handful of the rabe confetti and stir!  Viola a healthier dish – oh, that and I we only had about 3/4 of a cupful of that cheesiness at a time.  With the added veggies/fiber it was more than filling.

By adding extra veggies you get the feeling of fullness you desire without the calorie/fat load plus the bonus of the extra nutrients and fiber!  So when a serving size seems small to you:  add the veggies for the trick of the eye your stomach may need – works for us!

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I’m watching over my new veggie starts that I just transplanted like an over protective parent.   It’s a little embarrassing really.  I finally came inside the house  because I didn’t want the neighbors to think I was crazy so now I’m just sitting on my couch in front of the window watching – like that’s an improvement.

I hope I didn’t just over water them.

Is it too windy outside?  It suddenly seems awfully windy outside.  Maybe it was too soon to put them out into the world.

They’re kind of spindly looking.  Maybe they need to be inside for a while longer.


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Isn’t that an awesome statement?!

And why is it that so often one is inclined or finds themself doing just the opposite?!  I definitely fall into that category. (more…)

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After completely jinxing myself last week with mentioning the sunny warm weather because the rest of the week has been rotten, dark and dismal.  BUT there are some great  things I’ve been enjoying:

  • Jon getting more used to his cpap mask – sleeping 5-6 hours straight.  The first night that happened he woke up before 0500 and cleaned the bathroom.  I LOVE that cpap machine!!!!
  • Listening to my father-in-law talk to and laugh with(at?) our Ttwo cats.
  • The fact that I enjoy my in-laws’ company. 
  • Making our annual visit to The Fair.  We’re a scone family – we don’t do Elephant Ears.
  • A few quiet minutes at the beginning of the day.  It was worth setting the alarm and getting up early.  It may become a new habit!
  • That, two weeks into her gymnastics class Sofia’s been leaving all sweaty and worn out.
  • That Jon wants to build Sofia a small jungle gym inside our two bedroom condo that we’re renting!  I don’t doubt that he can it’s just that…
  • I think I’ve got wedding fatigue and am happy to not have any plans for the last weekend of this month other than going to work!  Jon and Sof will attend the very (and truly) last wedding event next Sunday.
  • Lavendar scattered across the kitchen counter as Sofia and I continue using up that tired, wornout, old sheet to make Sachets.  I think there was even a few stray lavendar buds that made it into our bread this week.
  • Making those simple little sachets has allowed me to experiment with threading configurations on my serger.
  • The bread turned out yummy despite (but not suprisingly) the fact that I only had a third of the needed bulghar.  Quinoa and millet made a fine substitute (note to self).
  • That Sofia calls our homemade bread “real” bread!

How is your Monday looking?

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