Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Book of Days

I know that i have mentioned the book of days a few posts ago...we have really been enjoying it. We have not done all of January's activities yet but we have a few more days, right? One of the activities was bird watching and recording what you see in your yard. We had a sick day from school today so things were pretty laid back. It has been a quiet school week anyway. Right after lunch Avery initiated this project. What you can not see is the binoculars on the table with them. They both were watching the Juncos in our yard and began drawing....using almost every bird book we had as a reference. It was a nice time together, and they were both so proud of their drawings. It is fun to see Avery getting better and more detailed at what she draws, and Mitchie's are just plain cute! Everything is big round circles.
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Starting Young

Tonight Avery sewed up her first quilt top. She plans on giving it to a friend. She picked the fabric out a few weeks ago all on her own. The kid has a good eye!
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy New Year!

It is Chinese new year today. It seems funny to celebrate, but really, why not? It gives the kids a chance to learn about another culture, and it is fun. Fun crafts and fun food and silly kids. It is a great. **While we were eating our yummy take out I asked Mitchie how was his dinner..."Mmmm, Chinaliscious!" he says.**
Let me rewind a little....last year Mitch went to a very multicultural preschool where several children spoke little to no english. We had a few special friends from China who made a great celebration for all of us for last years Chinese New Year...the fun stuck so when they knew this one was coming they wanted to celebrate. We started this day with some coloring and a craft.
We made paper lanterns to decorate with. The kids loved it. Avery was very proud of her lantern. To make it a little more special and meaningful to us we wrote on the bottom what we wished for our family this year(ie, love and happiness)Now those lanterns decorate our kitchen....they make it a little cozier i think!
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

1 Year!!

Today is my one year 'Blogaversary'!(and just a few over 300 posts) I feel like i should do something cool but i don't know what. So i guess i will just say thanks for reading all you faithful readers and followers....and you lurkers too! It has been fun to record all our activities and adventures. In some ways blogging was therapeutic. It made us more aware, and even on occasion inspired activities. It has been fun sharing what we do and what we make and how we school with all of you. I hope that you will all keep reading and maybe we will make a few new reader friends along the way. Check out our first post here. I can't believe a whole year has passed.
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Mitchie's Lesson

Who knows what were thinking, but at the end of the day we decided to take the kids up to the ski hill so Avery could get a little practice and Mitch could have his first Daddy lesson.
It was cold and windy and mommy was the only one that was not all geared up. It was cold like i could not feel my fingers cold and i can not feel my legs cold. But they were excited and ready. can't let a little cold stop us!
Mitchie was excited. He was yelling and whooping all the way out there. He clicked on that first ski and was ready to follow daddy like a little snow chick.
Avery made one or two short "glides" down the hill before she had enough for the night. SHe was more interested in sledding. More on that in a minute!
Daddy and Mitch practiced a few new skills
They used a kiddie ski harness to help the end i am not sure if it helped or hindered.

Chris took Mitch half way up the small hill on the tow rope. I was inside with Avery warming up so i missed out on how much fun that must have been. :o) As for the sledding. Avery headed up the hill with sled in hand, i tried getting her to stop part way up but either she did not hear me or did not want to stop. She rocketed down the hill....she lost her boots half way down...i tried to grab her but she was going to fast(i think i hit her in the back of the head instead)....i was running and shouting to her to bail, but she could not hear me over her own screams of terror. I was just hoping she would not shoot under the safety fence and end up in the creek. All this to say that on ski lesson day two, Mommy was the only one that got hurt. I was trying to save Avery from impending doom and wrenched my arm in the attempted grab. Irony, since i am the only one that does not ski.
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Round 3 with Nostalgia

This one takes me back to the early 90's. All the ladies at the church i grew up in made this. This decadent and delightful pastry you see is Almond Puff. Even a pretty name. It was common at morning get together's. I have wanted to make it for years but have somehow been intimidated by what i thought was it's complicated directions. Come to find out that they were not so hard after all. Mom was here for breakfast this morning, so we got to enjoy this blast from the past together. I asked her if she could put a time frame on this one for her and she said the early 80's, when i was just a little girl.

Almond Puff

1/2 c. Butter, softened
1 c. Flour
2 T Water
1/2 c Butter
1 c. Water
1 t Almond Extract
1 c Flour
3 Eggs
Powdered Sugar
chopped Nuts(optional)

heat oven to 350. Cut 1/2 c Butter into 1 cup Flour. Sprinkle with 2 T water over mixture, mix with fork. Round into a ball. now divide in half. On ungreased cookie sheet make each half into a strip abot 12x3, place together on pan.(Here is where you can spread some jam on the dough before you top it with second mixture) In medium saucepan, heat 1/2 c butter and 1 c Water to rolling boil. Remove from heat and quickly add almond extract and flour. Place back on low heat and stir vigorously until it forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in eggs all at once until smooth. Divide in half and spread over dough on pan, cover completely. Bake about 60 min until topping is crisp and brown. Cool. Frost with powdered sugar glaze: mix 1 1/2 c. powder sugar, 2 T Butter softened, 1-1 1/2 t. almond extract and 1-2 T warm water until smooth. Enjoy!
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Dinner with History

Many of our history lessons end with craft projects or recipes to try that somehow reflect what we have learned that week. This week Avery read to me out of the Story of the World all about the Phonecians...or as she said it "the Phocans"...she was having some trouble sounding it out and then the name kind of stuck. The recipe for this lesson was to make the bread of that people. Phocan bread! Or as we all know it, pita bread.
The bread was finished in time for dinner so we paired it with a new Ethiopian dish i found called Tikil Gomen. You can get the recipe on this blog. This recipe was so good...full of potato, carrot, cabbage and onion. The turmeric is what makes the nice bright yellow color. Avery cleaned her plate, and Mitch got so close. Leftovers were even better the second time around.
Is this the face of a serious bread maker or what?! I did not realize i caught his hard work while we were making the pita until i went back through the pictures. It is very, very candid. He looks like he is in so much pain. poor thing.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Daddy-Daughter Skiing (A Blogjacking)

Chris here... Skiing and snowboarding have been two of my greatest passions for as long as I can remember. There is nothing quite like the feeling of zooming down the slopes. The cold wind in your face, the sound the snow makes under your skis (or board), and the burning feeling in your legs after a long run. The peace and quiet on the lift and the beautiful views of God's great creation are also great things about skiing. Since we first had Avery, I've longed for the day that I could share this passion of mine with her. It's a wonderful feeling to share the things that you love to do with others, especially your kids. Well, the time is finally here. I had considered teaching her myself, but figured that had the potential to end badly for both of us, and skiing is something that I really want to enjoy with my kids.

Here is Avery while were in the lodge waiting for the lesson to start when I asked her if she was excited or not. You be the judge...

The local ski hill is small enough that she's only got two other kids in her class, so there's lots of attention from the instructor.

No, she's not getting ready to do a back flip, she's trying to save herself from hitting the snow. She succeeded in that, and managed to make it through her hour long lesson with only a couple of falls. Her instructor said that within the next few lessons they'll be headed to the top of the big hill, rather than staying down on the bunny slopes, so expect the falling to occur a little more often. We stopped for ice cream on the way home, and she told me how much fun she had. Whether she end up being any good or not doesn't really matter, the simple fact that she had fun is enough for me.

Here's Mitch in Daddy's helmet and goggles, all ready to go (minus a shirt). He's still too young to take lessons here, but he'll get his turn. I'll take him over a couple of times this season and at least get him started.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nostalgia Won!

I have a confession to make, nostalgia broke me down. I am weak! I seem to be reliving the past through food lately. And today i lost my battle with the corn syrup. I made my mom's PB Playdough recipe.
Apparently every food has nostalgia, even the cursed corn syrup. I have almost completely eradicated it from our house. But today i was strong no longer. I pulled the unused bottle from the back of my pantry, dusted it of and added it in.
The kids are always asking to play with playdough and i always so no...does that make me a bad mom? I just hate cleaning it up and picking the pieces out of the carpet and off the bottom of the kids socks. Isn't being able to eat your playdough a 100 times better? SO i made it.

For today, for this one recipe from my childhood, nostalgia(aka, corn syrup) won.


1 c. Peanut Butter
1 c. Corn Syrup
1 1/4 c. Powdered Milk
1 1/4 c. Confectioner's Sugar

Mix all well to form stiff dough. Let kids play and snack as they go. Enough for small group of children
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Castles in DC?

the pre-inaguration CNN coverage was on. I did not push it on the kids but i thought if it was on they might absorb some of what was going on. Mitchell was looking at the crowds of people as the camera's panned the mall and capitol, he saw the white house and started jumping up and down, so excited..."i saw Barack Obama's castle!!! I saw Barack Obama's castle!!!" He is so adorable. We are going to have to take him to see Obama's castle next time we visit Aunt Colleen in DC.

Unveiled/Spoiler Alert for Dee

**SPOILER ALERT FOR DEANNA....Dee this is your chance to look away if you don't want to see.**

I am just warning you even though i know you are going to look.

Thanks to my very flat chested model....i present you with the Hooter Hider. My sweet friend Dee is having her second baby very soon and i had planned on making her one of these for some time now. As soon as i saw this tutorial i knew that she was getting one. Due to my regular crafters procrastination and OCD problems i have put it off for awhile. However time is limited when there is a baby on the way.
by funny(i guess you could call it that)coincidence this was one of the things she was going to be making herself in these next few weeks. It was going to be a surprise until i heard of her plans. Then i had to divulge my secret. But don't you worry " little lady"(as Mitchell would say), i have other sewing surprises up my sleeve that i can not wait for you to see!!!!!
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Monday, January 19, 2009


i think i might be addicted! These are the fabrics that i ordered over the past two weeks. I just loved them and could not help myself. I have plans for some and others i just could not walk away from. i know it is bad...but so so pretty. i think i might use the birds for Avery, and the seahorses and octopi for a shower curtain(maybe), and the rest was just irresistible. i better keep on making.
Besides ordering more fabric than one girl can use at once i have been catching up on unfinished projects and crafting up birthday presents for new little friends. This crocheted dodecahedron(did i even spell that right) was a challenge to me from a friend. She was hoping i could make it for her little man for his birthday and i did it!!!
This is a little set i did for Avery's new friend. i love the IKEA hippo fabric. I work well under pressure, the party is in just a few days. Bring it on...what is next?
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Catching up with our Life

We have been trying so hard to get our life back on track. To finish a day of school and really feel like we have accomplished get something unpacked(still) around the house...clean something(always)...and just to be together.
One of the new things we are trying out is called the Book of Days. It is put together by a wonderful mom and blogger at Blue Yonder. It encourages you to sit down and do something together as a family. It has experiments, crafts, reading, recipes and lots of other things to get the kids and parents engaged in something together. This night we tried the snowflake drawing activity. Everyone participated, and we had so much fun. Mitch, we lost him quickly to cutting the papers up instead of drawing on them but Avery did an awesome job and even made up a few of her own.
And then we got a surprise. I don't even know how it started. We were sitting at the table together and I think mitch was looking at shape flashcards and told Chris what one of the words on the cards was. So confident that Chris and i were we got out the Bob books. He knew every letter sound and then he sounded out those cards and he read a book. My baby read a book.
He was so pround of himself. And it was easy....he wanted to do it and it seemed to be so natural for him. We have not started Kindergarten yet but he is learning so much!! pays off to sit in and around when big sister is doing lessons.
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Crystal Magic!!

Don't worry, i have not gone over the deep end. Don't let the title scare you!!!
This past week or so I saw this cool experiment on a very cool blog, Mom in Madison. She has lots more cool stuff. I remember being a kid and doing the sugar crystal experiment but that seemed to take so long. This one is fast and like magic!
I did it with the kids in the evening....everyone was antsy and we needed a distraction. They loved it! When we first checked it in the morning there was nothing...i was so bummed. But within a hour at the most they started to appear. And appear! And appear! Mitchie sat there for ages with a magnifying glass in hand hoping and waiting for one to appear before his eyes.
After a certain amount of time they stopped growing, so i took them out of the jar and let them dry and now they live happily on our windowsill.
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