Friday, March 29, 2013

Sweatshirt Repurpose 3 Ways

 I had a lightweight sweatshirt that got too old to wear.  I'm always looking for ways to re-use things, and ways to save money, so I came up with three quick projects!
I first made the baby skirt using the bottom hem of the sweatshirt, and a bright shoelace from the dollar store.  An elastic would have worked just as easily.  This is a good basic tutorial, using an elastic.  I used my awesome sewing machine (yay, Craigslist!) to make some simple button holes for the shoelaces to come out.
Next I made some PJ pants for my boys to share.  It really shows off their skinny legs :)  I used the sleeves and just sewed them together using a pair of their PJ pants as a guide.  I opted for the other shoelace, again instead of elastic (but I just found some great cheap elastic at Dollar General!).  There are lots of tutorials on turning sleeves into pants. It's a very fast, rewarding project.
And finally, I made a little flower headband for Evelyn with the scraps.  For the headband, I took three pieces about 1" wide, loosely braided them, and sewed the ends together.  There are lots of ways to do the flower, but I basically followed this tutorial, and hot glued it on the headband over the seam.

What's your favorite way to upcycle your used clothing?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Activities for a Christ-Centered Easter

This week I discovered a goldmine in an old wedding gift, heretofore neglected on the bookcase I'm embarrassed to say.  Gifted to us by the authors (and family friends), Janet and Joe Hales, A Christ-Centered Easter: Day-by-Day Activities to Celebrate Easter Week contains a wealth of ideas for honoring Easter with the grace it deserves.

To reap the real benefits of this resource, you should just add it to your collection!  But perhaps even from what I share, you will find some new Easter traditions to establish with your family.  We certainly have.  The book includes several different sections:

The preface explains how the Hales family molded their Easter observance to whole-heartedly celebrate the sacred events of the atonement and resurrection.

The introduction suggests how to use the book.  At the beginning, they also explain that rather than tossing out the Easter baskets and egg-dying to make way for a more consecrated celebration, they opt to make Spring Baskets and dye Spring Eggs to welcome the first day of spring.  I liked that very much.

Part 1 is the day-by-day guide, full of ideas for honoring each day of the week.  See below.

Part 2 is dedicated to supplemental materials, including:
  • Sacred Music and Hymns: a list for both singing and listening, including classical works appropriate to the holiday (i.e. Handel's Messiah and Rachmaninoff's Vespers, among others).
  • Stories with a Message: stories from our day that add perspective to the Easter celebration.
  • A discussion regarding the Jewish Sabbath.
  • Easter Activities and Plays, which include an oil lamp tutorial and other fun activities such as The Easter Story in Eggs, Easter Story Cookies, and the Plan of Happiness Treasure Hunt.
  • A Passover Activity and Jerusalem Dinner: this section provides great information on Passover, the symbolism of the foods traditionally consumed, a list of other foods that may have been consumed in Jesus' time, and several recipes for dishes like lentil soup, seasoned lamb and barley, yogurt cheese, broiled fish, and others.
  • Many pages of this section are devoted to A Parallel Account of the Gospels, which includes all the verses in the Four Gospels (written out in four columns side-by-side) that took place during Easter week.  The authors recommend a portion for each day.
  • Useful Reference Materials for Children, Youth, and Adults: a list of books, articles, audiotapes, videotapes for further learning, as well as references for personal and background study.
  • Maps showing Jerusalem and the Holy Land in Jesus' day.

The heart of the book is the section that explores each day of the week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, including prophecies for each day, corresponding scriptures, ideas for family discussion, and age-appropriate activities.  Here is just a sampling:

DAY 1 -- PALM SUNDAY: Jesus' Triumphal Entry
Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19: 28-44, John 12:12-36

Discussion Ideas
  • Discuss what your family would do to show your joy that Jesus is the Christ if he came today.
Suggested Activities
  • Act out the "Triumphal Entry Play." [Included later in the book. Just read the verses from Mark and act it out. My boys loved having daddy be the donkey.] 
  • Go on a nature walk with your children. Instruct them to find a variety of objects that are significant to the Easter story. For example, have them find a branch to signify the palm branches case in the Savior's path as he rode a donkey into Jerusalem; a thorn to represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore on his head; a piece of wood to signify the cross to which Jesus was nailed; a rock to represent the stone rolled away from the open tomb; and so on.

DAY 2 -- MONDAY: Cleansing the Temple
Matthew 21:12-18, Mark 11:12-19, Luke 19:45-48

Discussion Ideas
  • Given Jesus' action in the temple, discuss how he would feel in your own family's home? How might he cleanse it? As a family, choose one way to purify your home and make that your goal for the week.
Suggested Activities
  • Name, list, and discuss some of Jesus' character traits (obedient, forgiving, kind, compassionate, humble, patient, selfless, courageous, filial, and so on). Choose one to work on as a family during the week.

DAY 3 -- TUESDAY: Parables and Teachings
Matthew 21:19 - 26:16, Mark 11:20 - 14:11, Luke 20:1 - 22:6, John 12:37-50

Discussion Ideas
  • Choose a parable or teaching as the focus of an in-depth discussion (see JTC, chapters 30-32; Robert Millet, Parables and other Teaching Stories [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999], various sections). Use questions such as the following to begin your discussion:
    • Regarding the Widow's Mite, Why were people throwing money into the treasury? What is a mite? What does the widow's money represent? How are all sincere followers of Christ like the poor widow?
    • Regarding the Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast, What does the marriage symbolize? Who is the bride? Who do the various invited parties represent? What does the wedding garment symbolize and why is it so important? What application does this have in our lives?
Suggested Activities
  • Act out a parable. Wear costumes, use props, and record it on videotape so the children can view it later.

DAY 4 -- WEDNESDAY: Rest in Bethany

Note: No events are specifically recorded for this day. It is assumed that Jesus spent the day in Bethany. You may continue to use parables taught on Day 3 or discuss later verses, such as Mary anointing the Savior and Judas bargaining for the betrayal of Christ.

Discussion Ideas
  • Define the words anoint and spikenard. Explain possible reasons why the woman anointed Jesus (see BD, "Anoint," 609; JTC, chapter 29, note 7).
  • Explain that thirty pieces of silver was the price commonly paid for the life of a male slave. Use the following questions to discuss Judas' betrayal: Why did the Pharisees set this price? Would it have mattered to Judas how much money had been offered? Has Jesus even been betrayed since then? What has been the price?
Suggested Activities
  • While reading and discussing the Parable of the Ten Virgins, burn two lamps: one willed with oil and another containing only a very little oil. Turn off all other lights and burn both lamps until the foolish virgin's lamp burns out.

DAY 5 -- THURSDAY: The Last Supper and Jesus' Prayer and Agony in Gethsemane
Matthew 26: 17-75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-65, John 13:1 - 18:27

Discussion Ideas
  • Read Matthew 26:17-19 and discuss what you might do to prepare for Passover. Have the family participate in the Jewish tradition of cleaning the house in preparation for the Passover.
  • Read and discuss Christ's description of his own suffering in Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19.
Suggested Activities
  • Taste and discuss the ritual foods of Passover followed by a simple dinner prepared with foods common in Jesus' day. 
    • Appropriate food choices would include roasted lamb or lamb chops, bitter herbs (romaine lettuce or horse radish), unleavened bread, and glasses of grape juice.

DAY 6 -- FRIDAY: Jesus' Trial and Crucifixion
Matthew 27:1-61, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 22:66 - 23:56, John 18:28 - 19:42

Discussion Ideas
  • Discuss, in more depth, various aspects of Christ's suffering by asking the following questions: Did Jesus fully understand what he was required to do? What did Jesus mean when he said, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt?" What is the equivalent of that submission in our own lives?
Suggested Activities
  • Obtain a heavy wooden beam and try to carry it.  Taste the difference between water and vinegar.  Craft a crown of thorns using thorny branches found in your area.

DAY 7 -- SATURDAY: The Jewish Sabbath
Matthew 27:62-66, Luke 23:56

Discussion Ideas
  • Discuss Jewish Sabbath observance.
  • Read 1 Peter 3:18-20 and D&C 138:29-37. Discuss the mercy of vicarious work as part of the plan of redemption. Discuss the irony that Christ's death brought grief to his disciples on earth but joy to those in the spirit world. Ask your family, What might this teach us about trusting in the Lord with patience?
Suggested Activities
  • Eat a Jerusalem Dinner, like one Jesus may have eaten in his day.  Eat by lamp or candlelight and experiment with different kinds of olives, cheeses, dried fruits, and recipes for more complex dishes.

DAY 8 -- EASTER SUNDAY: Jesus' Resurrection and Appearances
Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-12, Luke 24:1-49, John 20:1-23

Discussion Ideas
  • Discuss the range of emotions that must have been felt by Mary Magdalene or Mary the mother of Jesus on this day (from continued shock and despair to hope and unbounded joy).
Suggested Activities
  • Meet in the morning for an Easter devotional: Sing the Resurrection hymn your family chose on Day 1. Offer a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. Retell the sacred story of the resurrected Lord's first appearances as found in John and Luke (John 20:1-18; Luke 24:13-35). Share personal testimonies of Christ's atonement and resurrection.
  • Eat an Easter dinner of broiled fish and honeycomb. (Luke records that Jesus ate broiled fish served with honeycomb.  A one-inch square of honeycomb per person is sufficient for this meal.)
  • Read several Psalms, such as 23, 24, 100, 113, 136, 146, and 149, and then write a family psalm of praise.


I am enthusiastic about using many of these ideas this week!  I'm particularly looking forward to trying some of the food recommendations, especially the simple Easter dinner. 

Which ones caught your eye?  What ideas do you have for celebrating a Christ-centered Easter?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dinner Prep Tip: Veggis

We eat lots of vegetables in our house, though, we could always do better. And you know what usually takes the longest for me at dinner prep? Cutting up those veggis...

So in an effort to have dinner ready at a more reasonable hour, I have started cutting veggis during nap time.

Because naps are over at 3, usually, cutting the veggis at around 2:30 doesn't leave them cut, but uncooked, long enough for them to dry into grossness.

I find when there are a lot of steps to a given dinner, taking time to do as many steps as I can here and there throughout the day, makes the actual cooking time less stressful.

Being in the "prep" mindset allows me to make meals that are more digestible, and nutritious for my family, in a more time economical way -- time economical = less stress. For me. Sometimes prep work is done the day of a given meal, sometimes a few days in advance i.e. soaking grains, or flour; sprouting nuts, seeds, and beans; fermenting a side veggi, etc.

What have you found to save you time in the kitchen, while not letting nutrition fall to the wayside?

And here's a bonus:

The clothes are a little big for him, so they make him look super skinny. He is on the leaner side than George was at this age, for sure -- though, he is super long...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Guardians of the Garden

Remember my lovely little strawberry patch from last spring?  

Well, over the last couple weeks we've been excited to watch some of the plants blossom and begin to produce fruit!  But a few days ago, I noticed little aphids starting to thrive on our much-anticipated bounty.  See those little white specks?

I thought I might just go buy one of those insecticides you can use for organic gardening, but truthfully, I'd rather not eat whatever would be killing the bugs.  So I decided to try the friendly bug approach, and bought these little guys from the plant nursery up the road.

The directions on the ladybugs container said to moisten the area, then spread the bugs around after sunset, as they move more slowly at that time.  So last night, we gave it a try, spreading most of them through my strawberry patch, and some in other parts of the yard.

When I went out this morning, they'd made themselves perfectly at home.

The box said that with ample food and moisture, they could begin reproducing right away.  They wasted no time.

The ladybugs will feed and lay eggs (in clusters of 10-50) for many days before leaving, then the new generation will repeat the cycle. They are aggressive in both adult and larvae stage (the young are alligator-shaped and black with orange spots).

Except for at my recent birth, I've can't remember seeing a praying mantis on the property, but it's a great bug to have around the garden.  They are strictly carnivorous and will go after just about anything, including black widow spiders (of which we have no shortage), and hopefully not including ladybugs, which I didn't think about in my moment of excitement at the nursery.  Just in case, I placed them at the far side of the yard (as insurance, I do have a Ladybug Land, but I didn't have time to send for the eggs and do it myself).

The mantis box held two egg cases with 50-200 eggs each.  When they hatch, the young will crawl from between tiny flaps in the case and hang from silken threads just below the case.  After drying out, they disperse into the vegetation, leaving little evidence of their appearance.  It all happens in an hour or two and the egg case does not change in appearance.  Wish I could set a camera up to capture their exit, but thanks to google images, I know it will look something like this:

Isn't that a beautiful thing?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sleep-In Cookies

What would you give to sleep in another 20-40 mins Saturday morning?  I saw a recipe for these two ingredient cookies, and I jumped at the opportunity.  The boys woke me up early, as always.  Instead of letting them pull me ruthlessly from my sweet slumber, this time I had some ammo.

"Do you two want to go make cookies?  All by yourselves?  I'll tell you how to do it, and then you go make them and surprise me!"


"Please don't wake Evelyn.  That will definitely ruin my plan."

"Okay.  Sorry.  What do we do?"

Sleep-In Cookies


2 Ripe Bananas
1 Cup of Oats


"Find two of our brownest bananas.  Put them in a big bowl.  Each of you get a fork and mash them up as much as you can until you can't find any lumps.  It will take you a loooong time to be sure they're all mashed up.  Then take the cup of oats I put out for you, and stir it around.  Stir it really well to make sure all the oats have some banana on them (or all the banana has some oats on them).  Then you get out a cookie sheet, and use a spoon to put them in little balls like you're making cookies.  Spread them carefully all around the cookie sheet.  When they're all spread out and ready to go in the oven, come and get me."

Then you'll be awakened (hopefully at least 15-20 mins later) to this beautiful sight:

Then you heat your oven to 350, put them in, set the timer for about 25 mins (depending on how long it takes to preheat your oven), turn on the oven light and go back to bed!  Tell those cute little chefs to pull up chairs, grab some books, and read and watch the oven until the timer rings and to come and get you.  
When you wake up, those little homely blobs will have magically transformed into this!

Believe it or not, they are really tasty!  For an extra ten minutes, tell them to get the raisins out and *carefully* put four raisins in each cookie.  Or double the recipe!

I hope your extra sleep is as beautiful as mine!  We're definitely making this a weekly tradition.  

Oh, apparently this is what these cookies could look like if you make them (and you make them with quick oats):

Roasted Cabbage

For another dish that takes just five minutes to prepare, give these Roasted Cabbage Wedges a try while the cabbage is on sale!  The boys and I tried it today, and it was so tasty!  We ate the whole cabbage for lunch.  That's a balanced meal, right? :)

The recipe came from Martha Stewart.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Martha's picture, but I swear mine looked the same!


1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Place 1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds, in a single layer on sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds. Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40 to 45 minutes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Few Fermented Drinks

So I've become a little bit of a fermenting fanatic. Are there veggis left over? Stick 'em in a jar with salt and water!

But really, recently I've been fermenting drinks mostly. And here they are!

Aren't they lovely? A picture could never do the beet kvass justice. It is the loveliest, deepest color I've ever seen -- maroon-ish purple? From the right they are: ginger ale, beet kvass (my personal favorite), lemon punch, lime punch.

The following recipes are all reduced versions of the Nourishing Traditions recipes, and are nonalcoholic. I cut the original recipes in half because I don't have any two quart containers -- so all these recipes are quart jar sized quantities.

Here's what you do!!

Ginger Ale (Nourishing Traditions p.586)

3/8 cup ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/8-1/4 cup rapadura (Nonie, do you suppose you could use raw honey in place of the rapadura? I'll experiment...)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup whey
3 or so cups filtered water

place all ingredients in a quart jar (wide mouth is easiest for me), and stir well. Add more water if you need, but make sure there is an inch of space between the brew and the top of the jar. Cover, and leave in a warm place for 2 or 3 days. When it is soured, store it in the fridge.

When you're ready to try this drink, strain the drink into your glass. There is a lot of sediment in this drinks!

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions says of this drink, "This is a most refreshing drink, taken in small amounts with meals and as a pick-me-up after outside work in the sun... [it] is best sipped warm rather than gulped down cold.

Taste: Because of the fresh ginger, this drink has a strong, albeit pleasant, bite. It is warming, and mildly effervescent.

Beet Kvass (Nourishing Traditions p.610)

Oh, Beets! How I have loved only the thought of thee!

This drink is that moving to me. It is actually found in the tonic section of NT, because it is a natural cleanser. Sally Fallon says of beets, "Dr. Bruce West recommends eating a few spoonfuls of beets per day --either raw, fermented or cooked -- as a sure method of ingesting adequate vitamins and minerals on a regular basis and as a way of detoxifying the body as well." (NT p. 373) On page 610, she says of beet kvass specifically, "This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments."

1 large beet, (or two medium ones, or three small ones) peeled and chopped coarsely (do not grate the beets, that will produce an alcoholic reaction, as it releases too much beet juice too fast.)
1/8 cup whey
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 or so cups filtered water

In the jar mix the beet, whey, and salt. fill the jar to one inch from the top of the lid. keep in a warm place in your house for two to three days. (This drink has always taken three days to fully ferment, for me. experiment.) Store in the fridge once fermented.

This drink usually doesn't need to be filtered because the beets sink to the bottom. If you do get a beet in your cup, go ahead and eat it. They are delicious!

In NT it says that once the original drink is mostly gone, you can simply add more water and start the process over reusing the same beets. The second ferment will be less strong, or course. I have tried this, and did not love it. I fell in love with the robust, strong flavor of the first ferment, and so the second seems very bland to me. But dont take my word for it. Try it, you may like it!

This drink is sharp, and earthy.

Lemon Punch & Lime Punch (Nourishing Traditions p. 588)

Juice of three lemons, or six limes
1/4 cup rapadura
1/4 cup whey
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 or so cups of filtered water

Mix all the ingredients in the jar, taking care to leave an inch of space between the brew and the top of the jar. Leave in a warm place for two to three days.

This punch is incredibly alive, full of bubbles. Both jars bubbled over when I opened them. :) It is a truly sour drink, to which the nutmeg adds interesting depth. As I sipped some now it brought to mind a place exotic, and perfumed.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chore Cards

I've been reading "The Parenting Breakthrough: A Real-Life Plan to Teach Your Kids to Work, Save Money, and be Truly Independent" by Merrilee Browne Boyack.  Although I disagree with her that, "The ultimate goal of raising children is to help them out of our lives and into successful lives of their own," she has a lot of good information.  I think "interdependence" is a higher goal, but "independence" is needed first, so that's where we start.

One of the best things in her book is a large list of age appropriate chores.  Everyone's list would probably be different, but it's good to have a starting point!  I thought of a fun way to display the jobs of the day.
I loved this project because it was conceived of and completed--all before lunch!  That's my kind of project.  For the picture, I used this free template, and I used a frame and hooks I already had.  Nails sticking out perpendicularly would work too.  The complete stack of cards is hanging above the two frames in the kitchen.  If you didn't want to draw your own pictures, I'm sure you could find some good chore printables.  I used some of Boyack's jobs, and added some.

Daily Jobs

Brush teeth
Brush hair
Make bed

Rotating Jobs

Put utensils away
Pick up 30 things
Set table
Take out recyclables
Clean room
Put clean clothes away
Sweep ______
Put books away
Pick up puzzles
Unload dishwasher
Wash dishes
Help in the yard
Daddy's helper
Mommy's helper

Almost all of those jobs could be fitted to the ability of the child.  I give my 4.5 year old the three daily jobs, two rotating jobs, and a card that says "practice reading" (he has a list of words, and he learns a new word every day and we read a book together).  My 2.5 year old has his daily jobs, and one rotating job.  I will probably be adding a "practice letters" or something on his job list soon.  

I wanted the jobs to be something I wasn't nagging about, but something they just knew they had to do, and I wanted them to get the sense that it was better to do the jobs early.  So, as an incentive for early completion, they get a 15 min iPad turn if they finish their jobs before breakfast, 10 min if finished before lunch, and 5 if they finish before Andrew comes home.  They need to do the jobs before dinner.  Also, I will help them, on my terms, with some of their jobs: "I am available to help you clean your room right now.  If you don't come now, you'll need to do it on your own."

This system has really worked for us.  I have been surprised how much the boys have taken to this system!  They actually really love waking up and checking their chore cards!  After the first week, I removed all their cards, and hung a "cookie" from each hook.  When Abraham saw it, he said, "Those aren't chores!" And as he ate the cookies, he gave himself his daily jobs, and two of his favorite rotating jobs.

Boyack recommends a strick training schedule, which we might implement in the future.  For now, I want them to have positive association with chores and think of them as "doable."  I know the boys well enough to know when they've made an honest effort, and I give them little pointers as they go.

What has worked for you?  Do you have some kind of a chart or pocket system?  What chores do your children do?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dutch Oven Root Vegetables and Skillet Cornbread (Grain-Free)

Dutch Oven Root Vegetables

I guess I've been craving root vegetables because they've been accumulating in my kitchen. Tonight I made something so simple and marvelously delicious, I couldn't help but share. Use whatever veggies tickle your fancy. I used a few potatoes (sweet and red), several big carrots, a bunch of beets, a couple bunches of turnips, a couple onions, and a head of garlic (parsnips or celeriac would be lovely additions). Conveniently, I have rosemary and parsley out in the garden. I hope you love this as much as I did!

A variety of root vegetables
At least 2 onions, color of choice
A head of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Rosemary (fresh or dry)
Peppercorns, freshly ground
Fresh Parsley
Sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375ยบ F. 
  2. Wash the root vegetables, cut into pieces (don't bother to peel), and toss into a dutch oven. 
  3. Cut the onions into eighths (half, half, and half again), pulling pieces apart a bit, and throw them in with the veggies. 
  4. Separate the cloves from a head of garlic (leave them wrapped individually) and add them to the pot. 
  5. Season with freshly-ground peppercorns (I use a mix of colors, but black would work), drizzle with olive oil, and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle rosemary on top. 
  6. Bake until soft, about 45 minutes. 
  7. Serve immediately, topped with fresh parsley and sea salt to taste (and if you're like me, butter).

Skillet "Cornbread"

Along with my sprouted flour fixation and sourdough dabblings, I've also been doing some grain-free baking. This delicious recipe is from the Simple Food {for Winter} eBook by Shannon at Nourishing Days (I've loved everything I've made from it and recommend it highly!) Your mouth might be fooled into thinking you're eating real cornbread, but I have a feeling your body will appreciate the substitutions. (Here's a good post on almond flour if you're interested. I get mine from Azure.)

The actual color was much more orange, as below.
Here's what Shannon says:

"When you don't eat grains you obviously start to miss bread in all of its delicious forms. I have yet to come across a suitable grain-free version of yeast bread, but quick breads are easily done with almond meal, coconut flour, or arrowroot starch. This bread mimics the sweet, crumbly skillet cornbread best eaten slathered with butter. It is also high in protein due to the almond meal, making it a great snack that keeps your blood sugar even."

3 eggs
1 cup squash, carrot, or sweet potato puree (or mash)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup butter
2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt
enzyme pairing: cultured butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet inside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat eggs. Add mashed or pureed vegetables and honey. Beat well with a fork.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together with a fork. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until nearly combined.
  4. Remove skillet from oven and add the butter, swirling until melted. Pour melted butter over batter and mix until combined. Scrape batter back into skillet with a spatula. Smooth out the top of the batter and place skillet back into the oven.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when places in the middle of bread and the edges are golden brown and pull away from the pan.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kid's Fine Art

I really love the color in our diningroom:
Behr's Swan Sea (It's brighter than it looks on your screen)
But I needed something big to contrast it in that big space.  I remembered that my friend, Amy of Progressive Pioneer, helped her kids make a big painting of "fine art."  The how-to video was gone, so I emailed her and got the instructions.  If I still lived by her, we would have gone to the craft store together and picked out some really fun paint combination (she has great taste), but as it was, I put it off and put it off for about a year before I finally just got some paint and did it.

Here's the how-to.  Imagine it in your favorite color combination.  (note: sorry, our camera is having issues and it's in the shop right now.  You'll have to forgive the very sub-par pictures. The color is particularly off.)


A large canvas
Large paint brushes (the cheap plastic ones give the most texture)
A cheap squeegee (it may not work for it's intended purpose after this, so buy a cheap one!)
Gesso (at any paint or craft store)
Paint of choice (I went to the hardware store (where I'm much more comfortable than a craft store, I'm embarrassed to say), and paid about $2.50 for paint samples and just used those.


1. Put on smocks or painting clothes
2. Have your kids paint on the gesso.
    Here's where much of the "artistry" comes in.  Don't make it smooth.  Be generous with the gesso.  Use things with interesting texture (like leaves, a comb, lids, etc) to spread it around.
    Leaving her mark
3. Let it dry.
4. Squeegee on the background color.  This bring out all the texture you created with the gesso.
5. Let it dry.
6. Paint on the foreground color.
I kind of regret how long I let the boys paint.  They were super fast!  I wanted it mostly to be a yellow painting, but it's mostly a red painting (yes, that is red, believe it or not).
6. Let it dry
7. If desired, paint an accent color.  We chose to splat ours:
I just had the boys dip their fingers in the paint (we used our wall color--is that cheating? :)), and flick and shake it onto the painting.
Then we needed something for the other wall, so we made three more :)

Now, we have something to fill the wall space, and best of all, the kids made it!  It's a fun bright piece of art that's also a fun memory.  If you do some "fine art" with your kids, let me know!  I'd love to see it.