Monday, October 25, 2010
Out of all the books we read, I think this one left the most lasting impression...it's about a class who wants to know how many seeds are in their pumpkin with an underlying story that bigger isn't always better....gotta love a good wholesome story!
Before starting the demise...we all took a guess at just how many seeds we would find...
Small Pumpkin guesses...
DH-342 (we thought he was crazy!)
Larger Pumpkin guesses...
and the results?
Drum roll please...
Small pumpkin seeds totaled....
So I guess DH wasn't so crazy afterall! lol
And the big pumpkin?
Are you beating on the nearest surface?
.......I can't hear you....
drum roll please.....
506!!! How cool is that?
We got to make lots of comparisons about the differences we found...like the color of the meat inside...
and the size of the seeds too!
After soaking them in salt water over night these are going to make a great snack!
And the small pumpkin was quickly turned into these...
Chocolate chip pumpkin cookies!
(Recipe thanks to my dear friend Aimee!)
2 1/2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 c butter
1 c sugar
1 16 oz. can 100% pure pumpkin
1 t vanilla
1 c chopped walnuts (I left these out-not much of a nut in cookies fan)
1 12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:1. Preheat oven to 375.
Grease 2 cookie sheets.
Mix flour, powder, soda, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl
Beat butter and sugar together in another bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth and well blended. Mix in the pumpkin and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring to make a smooth batter. Stir in nuts (if desired) and chocolate chips.
Drop by T sized spoonfulls onto prepared sheets.
Bake in preheated oven until edges are golden, 18-20 minutes. Cool briefly on sheets and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Don't you just LOVE fall? My house is smelling so yummy these days!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I consider ourselves to be SO lucky to be living in the area that we do because we have the opportunity to actually go to the places where our food is made and see the conditions under which our food is raised/put together! I had no idea how much of the food we eat comes from the west coast! Dummy me, I guess I just never thought about it much...and my list keeps growing and growing for the places to visit!
I was SO excited to see a segment on our local news channel about Wilcox Family farms, a local egg producer and to see that they were having a harvest festival/tour! The coolest thing about it? They are only a stones throw from our house! How cool is that?
Not only did they give us samples but we got to visit with them a bit too. The lady on the left is a member of the family...her mother actually attended the one room school house that is now located on their farm!
It was OH SO YUMMY!
The one room school house where members of the Wilcox family once attended... the kiddos got to ring the school bell ( a big highlight!) and they had a lesson on the board. There were also glass cases of old books for us to see. I thought it was so cool because we had at least one if not two of the readers!
It's funny how the simplicity of a water pump could be so interesting to our kids! I just love the hands on aspect of it...they still talk about getting to make the water come out! lol
Another plus to the visit was this old ringer for laundry! Aren't you glad you have a washer and dryer? lol
The girls were excited to see this tho because it is in one of their VERY favorite books. Now they understand what it is and how it worked!
They also got to paint pumpkins! That was an added surprise!
After all the fun activities, we got to go for a hay ride of sorts and they took us down to where the chickens are actually raised...
Now, I don't know about you, but after seeing Food Inc. I have viewed chickens in a whole other light and was a bit nervous/anxious about this part of the tour. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement... spending many years in Missouri, it was inevitable not to drive by a Tyson chicken barn (boo hiss gag!) and the smell that surrounded them could be smelled for miles. This place was nothing like that...we were pulled in right up close and there was essentially now smell!!! They explained how the mechanical roosting boxes worked both to keep the area clean and to get the eggs in a timely manner. They also explained that while this particular field of chickens are organic and free range, their non-organic chickens are voluntarily free range also! I thought that was so cool! We had the chance to ask questions of the workers, who were also fourth generation Wilcox family members. That too impressed me...that the family didn't just set back and collect a check but rather had a hands on approach. The whole farm felt like a family farm...clean and welcoming... It was interesting to me how fast the eggs from this farm are out and on the shelf at our local stores...2-3 days...as apposed to the up to 30 days it takes from other egg producers...can you imagine? 30 days to get to the store, not to mention the time they sit there and then the time till they get to our plates? Really makes you wonder huh? :)
All in all, I think this was one of THE coolest field trips we've ever been on and I look forward to going back and getting to tour the actual production line and see how the eggs are cleaned and packaged. As for us...we are lucky to have our own eggs but will seek out Wilcox eggs in the future as we need them. I know that researching your food is time consuming and at times frustrating when we don't get the answers we want but don't you think it's our duty as caregivers, parents and Americans in general to be informed and to make the best choices we can about what we buy? Would you blindly vote for a candidate for President? I hope not...so why would you "vote" for food that isn't really food and that can cause harm in so many ways...just think of it as voting when you go to the super market...and don't think you have to change everything...start small. Choose one aspect of you family's diet and look into it. Start with say, eggs...every little bit counts!!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The pictures in this book are enchanting...this one is going on our list to purchase for sure. It takes you thru the months of the year and shares the sweetest celebrations and other goings on...the girls really enjoyed this one!
Another must have book goes onto our list! This book of a wife doing all this crazy stuff getting ready for winter while the husband sits in his chair exhausted had the girls giggling throughout the story! I am a sucker for detailed pictures and this one was a great crowd pleaser!
As with most of these books, we got this one at the library...J is so sad to see it go back that I think I am going to have to order it ASAP! We so enjoyed the story of how September introduced Christopher to all the "characters" of fall and the feeling of mischief we felt as his new friends sent him on a wild goose chase for his beloved ball. Again, it's all about the artwork for me and these old fashioned drawings just sucked me in...I can't wait to add this one to our collection!
This book was a fun one to read...with a teacher who liked to rhyme and say the wrong words to keep the children guessing! The girls got a kick out of it and we really enjoyed reading it!
I'm running out of time for all these great crafts but wanted to share them incase you find the time! :)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Tuesday Tag-Along button art adapted from the "Follow the Leader" illustration by Diana Jones. I encourage you to visit her at her blog, Sketch & Jones, and her online shop to see more great illustrations and all sorts of wonderful crafts! Without further ado...Here's how it works:
Create a new Tuesday Tag-Along blog post. Include the Tuesday Tag-Along button by copying and pasting the code above. (You are also welcome to copy and paste these instructions in their entirety, or any portion of this Tuesday Tag-Along blog post!)
Add your blog name and the URL of your TTA post to the MckLinky below.
Follow Twee Poppets, the hostess blog listed in the first slot. Twee Poppets will follow you back! (Note: If you want Twee Poppets to follow you back, you MUST leave her a comment saying that you are a new follower and leave a link to your blog!)
Follow the Blog Hopper of the Week, listed in the second slot. To learn how to be chosen as the Blog Hopper of the Week, read the red text below.
If you can, please follow the blogs in the three slots before you (e.g., if you're number 20, follow numbers 19, 18, and 17). This is not mandatory, but it will help ensure that everyone who signs up gets a few new followers!
Follow as many other blogs as you want. The more you follow, the more that will follow you back! Be sure to tell them that you're following from Tuesday Tag-Along! You may also want to leave a link to your blog so they can return your follow more easily.
When you get a new follower through Tuesday Tag-Along, be sure to follow them back! It's just common courtesy. :) The weekly Tuesday Tag-Along MckLinky opens every Monday night at 8:59pm Pacific Standard Time (that's 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time), and the TTA blog post will be posted well in advance of that time. The MckLinky will be open to add your blog until 11:59pm Tuesday night. You then have all week long to visit blogs and return follows!There is a new list every week. The link you enter one week will not carry over to the next week's MckLinky. Please link up again each week to join in the fun!
I enter giveaways all the time, on a daily basic really, and while I have been EXTREMELY fortunate on the things we have won (I have so many posts to still write about them!) I usually enter them and forget about them figuring I don't stand a chance! Well, this particular give-a-way was one of those times, I didn't think I stood a chance so I was SOOO thrilled to get an email stating that I'd won and that I had the pick of her shop!!!
Having made dolls similar to these, I know the time and love that goes into them and how hard it is to part with one even if it's for sale, let alone GIVING it away! I can't imagine! But I can tell you how amazing it was to win one! PURE JOY!! I fell in love with "Heidi" at first site and quickly made my pick...then it sunk in that my girls were going to have issues...oh my...who to give this doll too? DH and I talked about it and he insisted that the doll is MINE! What? I get a doll? lol At first I thought he was crazy! Pure crazy! But then, I was having a crappy day (nothing major just life getting in the way of a long needed break I had planned) and I escaped into town for a bit of quiet time to myself...only to find "Heidi" waiting for me in the mail. I have to admit, I felt a bit child-like as I opened the box and carefully pulled her out...The pictures don't do these dolls justice! She is so beautiful and so soft and perfect...my entire mood changed due to this little doll and I knew that DH was right to call her mine!
As it turned out, this special little doll would become even more special in the next few days. While she resides in my room most of the time, gathered with a bunch of new friends from my childhood, she gets to go on special day trips into the girls' rooms when they have done something extra nice for someone else! One day, R wasn't feeling good, and J ended up voluntarily waiting on her hand and foot...it really was so sweet to see her be so caring and nurturing...so that night I asked if she would like to sleep with Heidi. She was so excited and quickly welcomed her into the warm covers...until a few minutes later when she came out very concerned that she would lose her hat in bed or what if J slept upside down (as she usually does) and messed Heidi's hair?....she was so concerned because she knew how special Heidi is! So, a bed for Heidi was made on the floor next to her bed and she was fed breakfast the next morning and put back into my room without even being reminded...
I know it sound crazy for me to keep this doll all for myself, but I must admit I do love knowing she is mine and I find that sometimes I just go in and pick her up to hold her. She just looks like such a sweet friend to have and I love that the girls think she is so special.
So, if you are looking to purchase a doll for a special little girl in your life, please consider skipping that plastic doll requiring batteries (for noises you will dread before the toy is even brought home)... and consider purchasing a Waldorf doll....
These dolls are made with love in every stitch (not lead or other toxic chemicals) here in the good ol' US of A (not CHINA!).....these dolls are carefully made of love and natural materials and give the opportunity for a child to receive the gift of imagination and joy from a simple doll....
And to KD Dolls....a heartfelt THANK YOU!!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
This large piece of driftwood (along with many others) was found on the spit in Homer, Alaska on a fishing trip we took with friends who were visiting from Montana. Little did we know at the time, but we were expecting J! I'm not sure what is was about that trip that made it so special...I didn't go fishing or do anything major but we were with friends and we were making memories... while the men were off fishing, the ladies and I went to art galleries and after the men returned with hundreds of lbs of halibut and a few salmon to make up for dinner, we headed to the spit...
I just remember taking lots of pictures of the details...like my husband's hands hold my stepson's tiny 5 year old hands while they fished (with no luck!) and the details of the rocks and the piles of drift wood that had spent so much time at sea but landed there on that spot for me to find and treasure! I had no idea at the time what I was going to use them for but they have come in handy a number of times and make our projects that much more special! That is why I was so excited to think of this...
What better way to use a treasured item than to make it useable and welcome the nature into our schoolroom in one more way!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
It's been about eight months or so since I saw a movie that would change my life...I'd read about it on blogs and heard about it in the news but it wasn't until I actually sat down to watch it did I realize that I would never be the same again, or look at the world in the same light. It's still amazing to me that a movie can make that kind of change...and I wonder just how much change it could make in the world if everyone would actually take the time to watch it...
The movie I am talking about is not a big blockbuster hit...it doesn't have any famous actors or fancy production tricks...only truths...and so much free thinking that most people are afraid to even watch it...it makes people uncomfortable and is a real slap in the face to the way our country is run and the falsities we are told and expected to just "swallow".....now I'm not say this movie is the be-all-end-all (as some of my farming friends have voiced to me) but it does bring up questions that I think everyone should have to answer for themselves.
Food Inc. opened my eyes to the way our food is dumbed down, for lack of better words. It is dumbed down to the point that we are poisoning ourselves and we don't even care....For me, I always thought of us as fairly healthy eaters. We eat salad, not too much fast food and I try to buy organic when we can...and still the movie through me for a loop!
I had seen Michael Pollan on Martha Stewart and then again on Oprah before realizing that this was really something I wanted to delve into. I watched him on Oprah, and then watched it again with DH...I was so moved that I might actually still have it on my DVR...I got Food Inc from Netflix and DH and I sat down one evening to watch it. The responses we felt were disbelief, anger and then empowerment....a surge within to take control of our eating and to truly make a difference in our lifestyle and those of our children.
As with anything new, we went into it full speed and I know our friends thought we were crazy and our family probably still thinks we are! lol I stopped buying hamburger completely, and started buying bison meat as it was the only meat I could purchase at the time that actually had labels on it that I could read and that stated that the animals were grass fed and antibiotic free. We had a meal of cooked chicken that I already had in the freezer and found ourselves sick to our stomach when it came time to eat it...so we stopped eating chicken too until we could find a supplier that we felt good about (which never happened in that location!) I started researching blogs online that gave me some alternatives to meat and DH was a doll and actually tried the vegan recipes that I found! It was a whole family renovation and we were all in it together. Surprisingly...the vegan recipes were good and I think there was only one that didn't make it into the permanent recipe box!
We also had just purchased a Jack LaLanne juicer (worth every penny!) for Christmas and boy was it ever great! We started having more energy and craving the crap drinks less and less! A few times I even tried to drink a Coke and it just didn't taste that great! It's amazing to me what our bodies can do if only given the chance to flourish instead of bogging it down with things it doesn't really need.
Now, I don't want you to think we are going vegetarian, as that would never happen with DH being such a hunting fan...I totally believe that God put animals on this planet for us to use however he did not intend for us to use, abuse and throw them away! I felt like after seeing this movie, it was just one more way that the world is creeping farther and farther out of control, and I know that there probably isn't any real hope of changing it completely as I also know the Biblical stand on how the state of the world is going, but on the other hand, I don't have to just stand by and watch it happen. There are things we can do, little things that add up to be big things...little things that we can teach our children are important and little things that can make a big difference....
Back at the beginning of the year, I joined a blogging journey to bettering ourselves and the world around us through One Small Change... blogging about one thing each month that you are doing to make a difference in our world...to make it a better place...I was so moved by this and somehow it helped me focus in a time of so much chaos in our lives. I felt good about the changes we had made like using rags instead of paper towels, changing from plastic to glass storage, using vintage (or new) cloth hankies, and of course our not so small change in the way we view and purchase foods...
I am horrified and sadden that somehow I dropped the ball. I thought the challenge was supposed to go only thru Earth Day and I stopped the challenge when in reality I guess I was still going on! I just happened on to the blog this morning and realized it today so my One Small Change for the month of October is going to be getting back to all those changes we made, as we are still getting back to "normal" after the big move and unfortunately that means we got a bit lax in the way we were doing things...so today is the day...the paper towels are going back into hiding for true emergencies and the juicer will be humming again as soon as my wee ones awake...
My urge to you is to go check out One Small Change and be open to the small changes we can all make in our lives to add up to something big...an awareness! And by all means...go watch Food Inc...(for FREE)...your lives will never be the same! Try not to look at it as scary or daunting but rather see it as voting with your fork!!!
I would love to hear about the changes you are making...please leave a message with the link to your change and perhaps I will even have a showcase of the changes going on...anyone game for being a guess blogger? :)
A stop sign is a gift for you to learn that moving in the same direction won't take you any place new.Rex Steven Sikes
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A new fairy story, Lands End shoes for J, yarn that I had just been looking for at the store but they were out of! and the cutest little camel...bought for pattern making but got quickly whisked away to the fairy house!