Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt

I have many memories of hopping in the car with  my parents, and driving around gawking at all of the exciting Christmas lights and outdoor displays.  At least once, we went to Santa's Magical Kingdom (a drive-thru, outdoor display).  I remember being awed, as a child, by the bright and colorful lights, and by the creativity of the displays.  Have you done this with your family?  Is it a tradition?

My children get very excited when they begin seeing light displays in the late Fall.  To add a little excitement to it, I created a scavenger hunt.  While driving around looking at lights and displays, the children or entire family are challenged to find the items listed and check them off the list.

Below I have provided a FREE JPeg file for you to print and use with your family.  Have fun!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Activities

Outings are one of my favorite things about Fall!  Mild weather and amazing photo opps!  Here are a few photos from our outings!

Pottery Making

Sorghum Press

Yummy Jerky!

Jam making


Autumn is a second Spring Where Every Leaf is a Flower

Title quote attributed to Albert Camus.

Ahhh, Fall on the homestead.  Okay, so it's not exactly a homestead by definition, but I like to think of it as one.  I walked around our property and snapped some photos. I also realized how much poison ivy is in our woods!

My husband found this submerged in the water while out checking the depth.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stuffed French Toast

I will admit, I am not a huge fan of French  Toast ... unless it's stuffed with deliciousness!  There are various "filling" options, but I'll share with you my favorite and you can let your imagination go from there.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 10 slices of your favorite french toast making bread (I just use my whole wheat bread)
  • 10 slices of shaved black forest ham OR about 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • cooking oil to keep your griddle or skillet oiled
  • your favorite french toast toppings (butter, syrup, powdered sugar, fruit preserves)

Make It:

  1. Warm a lightly oiled skillet on about medium-high heat.
  2. Spread a thin, even layer of cream cheese on one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Build the "sandwiches" by placing two slices of ham or a layer of strawberries between two slice of bread (cream cheese side facing in).
  4. In a shallow bowl beat together eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Dip each "sandwich" in the egg mixture and then place in the skillet.  Cook on each side until they are nice and golden.  Mine took about 3 minutes per side.  Cooking times and temperatures will vary depending on your stove and cookware.  Re-oil skillet as needed.
  6. While still hot, add your favorite toppings!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Orange Dream

This is one of those recipes that you get from a friend who got it from a friend and so on ... My mom made it for dessert at a family dinner once and I wasn't sure if I wanted to try it because I'm not big on orange desserts.  I usually only like oranges on their own.  Once I tasted this dessert, I was hooked!  I changed up the recipe a bit, though.  I know, typical of me to change a recipe!  I'm a rule breaker!  Ha ha!

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 3 oz box orange jello
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 8 oz cool whip, thawed
  • 1 c mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 c maraschino cherries
  • 11 oz (or 1 cup) mandarin orange slices, drained and halved
  • 20   oz (or 1 1/2 cup) crushed pineapple, drained

Make It:

  1. Start by mixing the jello powder with the boiling water in a medium mixing bowl.  Chill until it just begins to set up, mine took just under 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  2. Stir up the jello to break it in to pieces then stir in all other ingredients.
  3. Serve chilled.

Back to School Lunch Solution

This is my second in a series of back to school posts.  This time we're talking about packing school lunches.  Many times I have found myself sending the same thing over and over again because I just don't know what else to send.  I have seen things like this chart before, where you mix and match from various categories to create something.  I have seen it for making smoothies, building sandwiches, creating a skillet dinner using ground meat as the base, creating meatloafs etc.  I think I may have seen one to pack a lunch but I couldn't find it back.  Anyway, I created this chart to print out and hang on the refrigerator.  When you are planning your grocery shopping, pick a few items from each category for that week.  You may want to prep and portion out your fruits and veggies ahead of time ... you may even want to portion out other items like crackers, nuts, etc.  That way, when you are assembling the lunch, half of the work is already done.  Click on the image below to enlarge and then right click to save and print.

*Note:  If you are unsure of any of the items on the list, I can tell you that at least one of my children will eat everything listed and the other will eat almost everything.  Try it at home several times as part of your lunch or dinner.  If they just DO NOT want to eat it, mark through it on the list and add items that are their favorites.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cucumber Salad

I made pickles today, and wouldn't you know I ran out of jars before I ran out of cucumbers!  Easy fix, I decided to make this cucumber salad to accompany our dinner tonight.  It is a very simple, fresh summer dish.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • 2 medium cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 medium to large tomato, chopped
  • 1 very small red onion or half of a medium, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2c. Italian Dressing, I like to mix up the Good Seasons brand
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
There is one step after you have prepped the ingredients ... mix them together.  I don't think it can get any more simple than that!  Use just enough dressing to evenly coat all of the veggies, salt and pepper if desired.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours.  If you want, you can top it with some fresh parsley just before serving.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back 2 School Is Almost Here!

August is here, that means that it's almost time for the kids to go back to school.  It's a little bittersweet for me, really.  I LOVE having my kids home for the summer and being able to spend time with them, but it can be exhausting keeping them entertained.

We have already hit the school supply aisles and purchased the items on their class lists, sigh ...  Why must it be so expensive?  Those back to school sales are vital in this household, and I make sure to buy extra while it's on sale!

Today I have some fun back to school printables to share with you!  Yay!  I love free printables!  The first one is a sheet of lunch box notes.  Cute little notes that you can cut apart, write a message and tuck in their lunch box.  You should be able to click the thumbnail to enlarge it then right click on the image to save it.

The second printable I have found to be a necessity!  Doesn't it feel like you are constantly sending money to school for something?  Lunch money, fundraisers, handbooks, field trips, year books etc.  The list goes on ...  I am always nervous about the money getting to the appropriate place or person.  This form makes it easy to clearly indicate the who, what, where and why of sending money to school.  Just cut it apart, fill it in and attach to the money.

I also made an alternate to the letter in the form of a size 10 envelope.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

DIY Kitchen Art

As I posted in a previous entry, I have a new home to decorate!  I really enjoy crafting and doing DIY projects.  I guess I'm too picky and want to do things MY way.  I was trying to decide on a few pieces to hang in my kitchen.  UTENSILS!  Utensils belong in a kitchen!  So, how do I decorate with utensils?  Google usually solves all of those random questions like this one.  So, inspired by a quick Google Images search, I created this for my kitchen wall.

Want to make one yourself?  Here's how!

You Will Need:

  • Metal Flatware - I got mine at Wal-Mart ... $0.94 for 4 piece sets
  • Photo Frames - I wanted simple ones, so these are $2 frames that I painted white.  Use whatever you like.
  • A background image - This can be scrapbook paper or an image that you print.
  • Tape Runner or glue stick
  • Strong adhesive such as E6000
  • Spray Paint
Start by removing the glass and inserts from your frame.  Spray paint your frame (if desired) and flatware in the color of your choice.

While that is drying, measure and trim your image to fit the frame.  Glue it down to the backing part of the frame.  I placed mine under a heavy stack of printer paper to make sure that it would completely stick down.

After the paint is dry, arrange the flatware on your background.  I chose to do groupings of 3 per frame.  I once read that when it comes to design, odd numbers tend to be more appealing to the eye.  Once you are happy with the layout, put some E6000 on the parts of the flatware that touches the background.  Gently press down to make sure that you have good contact.

After the glue dries, place your arrangement into the frame.  You may find that it is not a tight fit with out the glass.  To remedy this, I bent the little prongs inward until I had a tight hold.  Alternately, you way want to add a shim by placing a piece of cardboard behind the backing before pressing the prongs into place.
Change it up by using different types of frames or utensils.  Arrange the utensils differently.  Use a different type of background.  My initial idea was to insert chicken wire and tie the utensils on with raffia or burlap threads.  Make it your own and make it fit your decor.