Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What to do in an ice storm

We go outside daily. We walk around in the backyard or at a park even if it is cold. The only time we stay inside is if something wet is falling from the sky.

Well we have ice. Falling from the sky. It is beautiful as all ice is, but it keeps you in the house because it will cut your face if you are outside in it!


You can see the sweet little bush (I can't wait to see what it looks like in the spring!) all covered with ice.

But what to do with a two and a half year old and an almost nine month old when it is this cold? Why crafts and candy making of course!

Our craft selection was a bit scarce. I needed to plan a bit better, and I didn't. I try hard to plan crafts a week in advance, so that I know what I need and can get prepped the night before. Preparation is key with a two year old because you never know when they will turn on you! So you want to make sure things are fast paced.

But today we were low key, so we broke out the watercolors and I printed the story of Noah off the internet! And we made books about Noah and talked about it, though as we were talking about it I was a bit disturbed about the actual story and hesitated to really go into it. We stuck with the animals and the rainbow part of the story, and rested in the knowledge that God is faithful!


We attached the whole story together and had the cover made of pages that we had glued rainbow stripes to. She loves her new Noah book, and I'm thinking of having it laminated so that it isn't destroyed over time.

It does snow where we live, but it is fairly rare. Ice is more common, and we have had sleet, ice, and snow in the past 36 hours. But I grew up in snow country and I know what to do inside with snow, make snow candy!

First you gather up a big huge bunch of snow, in a large bowl or on a cookie sheet. I left a pie pan and a cookie sheet outside as soon as it started to snow (please discard ALL snow that is discolored! And if you live in an area where you are known to have very polluted rain or snow do NOT do this!)


I always use a copper pot if possible for candy making. It is much more sensitive to temperature changes than stainless, and my gas stove is a joy when candy making as I can make very slight, but instant modifications to the heat.

you need for this

1 c. real maple syrup
1/4 c. butter (no margarine!)

Boil your maple syrup and butter until it is 255 on your candy thermometer.


Then remove from heat, let cool for three minutes and pour in funky designs over your snow!


This will harden pretty quickly and you should be able to eat it within five minutes. It never gets super hard like a lollipop and if you would prefer than then boil it until it reaches at least 265 on your candy thermometer. I much prefer it where it is hard, but still has a little bit of give in it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why I make graham crackers

Graham crackers are yummy. One of my favorite foods, and I was excited to make them when I first found a recipe!

However, once in a while I like to buy graham crackers for ease of transport. Well Imagine my surprise when I opened up a box of Earth's best Organic Grahams to find



So yeah, no I remember VERY clearly why I don't eat a lot of processed foods!

Graham Crackers. I've adapted this from one of my FAVORITE cookbooks, which is Bread for Life 3 by Beth Holland. It is hard to find, but she does have a website, and I can't access it right now because firefox is freaking out.

1/3 c. oil (I use 1/6 cup coconut oil and 1/6 c. canola oil)
1/3 c. honey
2. T. Molasses
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 to 3 cups of fresh ground hard red or white wheat (I prefer white)
1. t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 to 3/4 c. milk

Have your oven at 300. Mix the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl and add the wet to dry, alternating with the milk and mixing very well. The mixture should be to stiff to mix with a spoon and not very sticky and easily form a ball. Spray two half sheet pans with non-stick spray and divide the ball into two. Roll onto the half sheet pan until the pan is covered. cut the dough into 2 1/2 inch squares and poke each with a fork several times. Bake 15-20 minutes until it is lightly browned. Remove from the over and let it cool on the cookie sheets then separate into squares.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

home brews

I want to learn how to home brew beer. I Love beer, and live in a state where six point beer has to be purchased only in a liquor store.

Even cooler would be to grow my own hops and barley and....

Well that just sounds like a lot of work. Nevermind. I'll drive to texas and get myself some Fat Tire

an energy crisis, even with low oil prices, and a plea to President Obama and congress

“For now, the wind stuff is deader than hell.” What happened to the much-hyped Pickens Plan?

I don't believe in man made global warming, but I believe STRONGLY in green living, and the importance of finding alternative energy sources. We are required by scripture to take care of our earth.

A year and a half ago I was paying over four dollars a gallon for my gasoline in my car, today, I'm paying a dollar sixty. Oil prices have plummeted and this isn't entirely good news. We in the western world are such instant gratification people. A year ago people were pushing green energy, bio energies, wind power, solar, hydro, nuclear. Anything to get this oil beast off our backs. Four dollar a gallon gasoline seemed to be the tipping point for Americans, and where we decided something should be done. But now oil is cheap again, so the oil crisis must be over, right?

Not so much. WE all know that oil is in limited supply. It won't last forever. Especially with China and India demanding more and more every day. So why aren't we converting anything? Why aren't we working toward our country getting off our oil addiction? Former President Bush addressed the issue, but never did much about it. I had hopes that President Obama would use his stimulus package to develop green energy, but instead the stimulus package is going to help build a waterfall in the tiger exhibit in the Philadelphia zoo, and a mob museum in Las Vegas. Neither will help prepare our country for our future with a limited energy supply.

We need to work on alternative energy now, so if we run out of oil in fifty years we have power, transportation, and aren't scrambling to get something done.

I am writing to President Obama and my congress men to ask them to please look seriously at REAL alternative energy sources. Wind, solar, nuclear, and natural gas are the best, most realistic solutions!

Time alone

I've come to value alone time a great deal since Sunday. My kids do sleep through the night and they are sharing a room and often a bed right now. The bee goes down at seven and Huck usually around eight. I have about an hour to an hour and a half after he goes down all to myself. And I'm waking up at six, and they aren't up until seven thirty. So I use that time to work out, shower, and do a bible study, followed up by some internet time.

I'm doing it on my own right now as my husband is deployed on a training mission.

It makes me appreciate how hard it is to be a single mother. Just these few days. I'm not sure I would be up to the challenge of being a single mother and having to work.

And with that, I hear a bee who wants me to come and wish her good morning.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

History with a 2 year old?

If she can identify Dora, she should be able to identify famous faces from history.

So I went to the Library today, and found two books. And I'm so excited to read them to the bee tomorrow and tell her about this amazing man who changed the world. However, how do you address a topic as henous as racism with an innocent child. As I was looking at these books, I was a bag of mixed emotions. So proud of this man who I admire, but at the same time, so sad there was ever a need for him.

The first is a board book, and looks like it is really on her level. We haven't read it yet, but we will tomorrow.


second was written by Martin Luther King's sister, Christine. I haven't read this one, and just picked it up, so I'll read it tonight before we read it tomorrow.


I've been trying to think of some sort of activity or craft we can do to celebrate this holiday, and I think that we are going to make a list of how to make people happy. It sounds simple, but she is so young. I'm hoping that a small activity like this will build the spirit of caring and compassion that moves mountains.

skim milk

Who ever decided to take all of the cream out of milk and make it blue and serve it skim style was nuts.

I tried it on some cereal this morning and was horrified. I couldn't even eat the cereal. ewwwww

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our future (and current) Homeschool

The bee is two and a half years old. However, she is old enough to learn so many things, and she craves structure. She loves schedules and lists and charts. She has a 'chore' chart where she checks things off with a washable crayon every day when she accomplishes them. She makes her bed when she wakes up in the morning, and checks it off, she helps me unload the dishwasher, then checks it off. She loves it! Totally the opposite of my personality which is much more laid back and unscheduled. It has been hard to mold myself to her needs. Huck so far is much more laid back than the bee ever was.

So we chart. We have schedules and actually keep them pretty strictly. She loves them, and thrives on them.

And thus we DO a bit of homeschooling already.

I'm a big fan of Charlotte Mason and Rudolph Steiner (Waldorf method) when it comes to the early education of children. Both are very arts and crafts driven, as well as lots of time in nature, observing seasons, and natural progression of things. Very little media, and just a general encouragement of creativity.

However this form of education seems to suit me a bit more than the bee. I'm learning to mold the philosophies of these methods to a child who thrives of her little lists of things to do. So we go outside from ten to ten forty five, then we come in and have singing time for fifteen minutes, followed by lunch at eleven, book at eleven thirty and nap at noon. (Just an example, not always the real schedule)

I've been looking a bit more into more structured education for her. She seems at this point to really like it, and I think I'm leaning toward a classical approach at this point. Once again it is book heavy, as is Charlotte Mason, but it is also more structured. I like several things about the classical method, especially the emphasis of critical thinking.

But again, I'm getting ahead of myself. The child is two ;) And Huck isn't even nine months old.

I think one of the keys of parenting is identifying the styles of your children and catering to it. Especially perhaps with adopted children who aren't going to follow the same styles as yours. And perhaps that will require a home school where if you have five children, you'll have five different styles.

oh the food he'll eat

Huck is eight and a half months old and doesn't stop eating it seems. But he is wanting less and less formula, and more and more real food. So far today he has eaten a half a banana, some mexican rice and beans, this apple/oatmeal/cinnamon thing that I made, and some sweet potatoes, plus two bottles. He just isn't all that interested in bottles anymore :( I'm wondering if he would like to start drinking from a straw or a cup.

I am not one to feed babies filler foods like manufactured rice cereal or puffs (though the bee gets these as a treat once in a while) or such. Babies are just little people, they should eat food just like real people eat. And I don't think we should start putting food in their little bodies until they are reaching for it themselves. With the bee this was around five months, with huck this has been around six months, but starting in a BIG way this past week.

Whole grains are good for babies and they are so easy, not to mention cheap, to make at home! Grind up some rice, barley, oatmeal, or millet in your blender or grain mill until it is a fine flour. Then whisk it into rapidly boiling water and cook for about ten minutes, thinning as needed. If you add some fruit or veggies to this it is a great healthy cheap and easy option for babies and their little tummies.

But they don't need it at four months. They still need breastmilk (formula if that is what you do) at that age!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I have returned

I'm back on this blog. I haven't had time for it since we moved, but we finally have internet back, and hopefully I'll be blogging more a bit more, but we'll see. I've got a nasty internet addiction and have to be careful.

We are home, and slowly, slowly unpacking. Much harder with two little kidlets than it was before they came along. But I'm making this house we bought my home. And it is our first home in many ways. This is the longest we'll be stationed anywhere, we could be here up to six years.

I've dug a garden, and have plans to put peas in the ground in about three weeks. Oh glorious peas! I might throw a couple of spinach plants in, and perhaps a few other very cold hardy plants. We live in a fairly moderate climate, but this is a cold winter, so I might put it off a bit.

We made a large purchase right after we moved in, a new sofa and loveseat. We sold the old one when we left Florida, and needed something besides blankets to sit on in the living room. Dark brown leather, not squishy, but lovely. And we got a crazy good bargin because it was a floor model.

My little ones are transitioning to sharing a room. Huck had been sleeping with us until recently, when he started to rebel. He waited longer than the bee did to rebel against the family room, so off to his own space he goes, right across the hall and I'm checking on them several times a night. But it is really sweet. When he fusses in the night the bee will often climb into the crib with him and they will snuggle together. During the day she shows no interest in him at all, but apparently at night, he is her responsibility. I'm glad we chose to have them share a room.

Life is calming down, we are happy, thrilled to be here. It is just wonderful to carve out a small part of the universe for our little family, something that is ours.