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23 Dec 2012 Leave a comment
These are the only kind of snowflakes I want to have this time of year. I could tell you that I’m dreaming of snowflakes tenderly falling to the ground blanketing the world in white wonder, but the truth is I hate the cold and am glad I can wear my t-shirt today. The grass is still green, the wind is blowing, but it’s not chilly. The sun peeks its head out every now and then but otherwise it’s lovely. But whether you’re shut in because of blizzard conditions or wish you could see real snowflakes in your window, do this craft with the kids and I promise you’ll have a good time!
All you’ll need is a newspaper, a ruler, a pencil, scissors, and string or ribbon.
With your ruler measure out a perfect square (mine was 6″ by 6″) and cut it out. Find some interesting pages of your newspaper, maybe with bright colors or an interesting picture. Fold your square in half down the diagonal so it makes a triangle. Do that two more times. Then cut out interesting shapes along one of the open edges and along the folded edge. Open and enjoy your snowflake!
Hang your snowflakes on a ribbon or string in a window or on a wall and as you do remind your kids (and yourself) that just like each snowflake is unique and no two are the same, so God made you unique and special.
17 Dec 2012 1 Comment
Yesterday we woke to rain pounding on our roof. It poured like it hasn’t in I can’t even remember when. The sky was gray, the house was cozy. It was a day made to be spent in the kitchen. For my birthday, I was given a hand-me-down vegetarian cookbook and I have quickly fallen in love with it. Unlike many cookbooks now-a-days, it gives homemade, old-fashioned bread making a significant role in nutrition and in the rhythm of daily life. This is where I got the recipe for oatmeal bread, best warm from the oven. While I’m not going to duplicate the recipe here, what you can do is find a good, simple whole grain basic bread recipe and begin substituting part of the whole grain flour for whole grain rolled oats and wheat germ. The coarse whole grain rolled oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking) magically disappear into the flour and adding honey lends a perfect touch of sweetness; it is not unlike a “honey wheat” variety you would purchase at the supermarket, but superbly and incomparably healthier, tastier and fresher.
Lately, my absolute favorite thing to eat is baked beans on toast. Maybe this is due to our time spent in the UK, where this dish shows up pretty much everywhere, but it truly is something worth trying if you haven’t. I know most of here think of baked beans along with Summer days and barbecues, but hot baked beans on warm whole grain bread (with butter of course) is wonderfully filling, especially for breakfast. Instead of leaving Santa another tired plate of frosted sugar cookies, perhaps you could leave him this hearty dish (I know he won’t be disappointed!)
I made these Oaty Pecan Rounds a little while ago, but they went fast. They are essentially a homemade granola bar recipe sprinkled with dried cranberries, pepitas (soaked and dried pumpkin seeds) and pecans. After they are firm and cooled you can use a cookie cutter or mouth of a mason jar to cut them into rounds.
Even my husband got into the spirit of baking with me as we had to make bread for his work’s holiday potluck. We thought we’d try something new and found a recipe for Brown Sugar Bread. It begins as a basic quick bread- flour, eggs, oil, water, baking soda and powder, and salt with the addition of 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 cup quick cooking oats (I ground up old fashioned rolled oats into a flour). The result was so good, my husband declared Brown Sugar Bread our new Christmas bread tradition (with the stipulation that we could also have it every other week of the year!)
No Christmas season could possibly be complete without a day of baking with the family. When I think of baking for the holidays, like you, I almost immediately think of white sugar cookie cut outs, smiling gingerbread men, artificially dyed frosting and sprinkles likely finding their way in all the nooks, crannies and corners of my kitchen. But “holiday baking” can be something worth sinking your teeth into; something warm and nourishing. Something filling and memorable. Try it and you’ll see.
14 Dec 2012 Leave a comment
We only sent a couple of Christmas cards out this year, but it was fun to watch Marlee help me “write” the notes inside!
09 Dec 2012 6 Comments
Homemade. All natural. Fresh. Minty. Shiny and flirty pink, need more reasons to make your own homemade lip balm? Well, it’s actually pretty quick and easy too. After balking at a $6.oo tube of all natural lip balm (really?…) I decided to make my own. Here’s what I did:
You’ll need beeswax, coconut oil, almond oil, peppermint essential oil and hot pink lipstick for the color (but the flavoring and color are optional).
I already had a block of beeswax I had bought at the craft store, and I already cook with organic coconut oil so it was pretty easy after that. We keep peppermint essential oil for various ailments so the only thing I had to buy was almond oil. It was about $4.00 at the health food store, and I found a hot pink lipstick in my make-up bag. If you’re into natural remedies you might already have all these ingredients, if this is your first go at doing anything D.I.Y instead of store bought you might have to start from scratch. It’s not cheaper in the short term, but you need so little amounts of each of these ingredients that in the long run I’m sure it would cost you much less than buying store bought all natural tinted lip balms.
Fork or small whisk, stainless steel pot, glass measuring cup, cheese grater, measuring spoons and small containers to keep your balm in. You can find little pots or tubes at your craft store. Whenever I go to LUSH they will usually give me small samples of their products in small black pots. I saved them, cleaned them out and that is what I used to hold my balm. (Yay for free!)
I followed the recipe for a small batch of lip balm from this blog and it turned out great.
Have your pots ready, cleaned out and open near where you are melting your beeswax and oils so that you don’t have to go looking for them. Once it is off the heat and you’ve added your flavor and color you will want to quickly pour them in their containers before it begins to harden.
Once it is hardened, apply and enjoy!