Vampires, beware

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I planted garlic for the first time last fall, and voilà, it is growing in our front yard!

And the rhubarb is coming along nicely too

!

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Pour me another tequila, Sheila

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Back before I had kids, this was what Friday night looked like.

With kids, I often wish I was spending my Friday nights doing that!

Instead, I spend it doing this: cleaning our playroom. This is how the disaster area looked Friday afternoon:

And this is how it looked an hour later, with some help from #3.

Maybe not as much fun as the tequila, but at least I wasn’t hungover Saturday morning.

Soap making 101

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This post is dedicated to my awesome granola friends who taught me how to make soap on a Saturday night!!! And because of a request from one of them, this blog will be mostly pictures with little writing……

Ingredients: safflower oil, extra light olive oil, canola oil, shortening, borax, glycerine, lye, sugar, goats milk and we added grapefruit essential oil for some yummy smell!

Let’s start:

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Ingredients: check

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All oils and shortening go into a pan to melt…

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Goats milk, measuring carefully….

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The goat milk heads into a pan that is set in cold water. The lye will be added in next, very slowly, to ensure that the temperature stays below 27degrees Fahrenheit . Notice the finger pointing – this is an important step!!

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One must protect themselves from the Nasty lye!

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Again, careful measuring….

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And mix!

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In the meantime, the oils have slowly melted…

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And the lye has dissolved into the goats milk.

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Time to get the molds ready. They are lined tightly with wax paper.

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Now’s the perfect chance to say hi to the kitty, hi kitty!!!

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Serious stuff now, we are going to mix the melted oils with the goats milk/lye! This is the same time that we add the borax, glycerine, sugar and essential oils.

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Adding and stirring.

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Borax in!

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Once Everything is mixed, you must blend it together in a mixer. This was working really well for us and was very creamy and thick once it was done, like the consistency of hand soap!

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Now pouring it into the molds….

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And smoothing it out…

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Looks perfect!!!

Now, fast forward 24 hours….

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Of course I have to include one picture of the kid!!! He’s with a snowman that lived for three hours. Gotta love temps of 11 degrees!!!

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Ready to start cutting. How? Using a cleverly designed apparatus that you feed the soap through and you are able to cut even slices. Here are some pictures!

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A gorgeous slice…

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Perfect!! (by the way, we added some dried marigold leaves for texture…..looks professional, wouldn’t you agree?)

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Finished product: over 30 bars of homemade goats milk soap. It will be ready in 6 weeks!

They Never Cease To Amaze Me

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Kids bounce back. That’s the joy of being a child. Illnesses like pneumonia and ear infections, don’t hold them down for long. My sons are definitely past the road to recovery… they’ve recovered.

Yesterday was my eldest son’s first day back at school after a week. He was very excited. He was so happy to see his friends and teacher. He had a ball at recess. Came home with a “green”. So everyone was happy…or so you’d think.

Around bath time, he starts complaining of sore shins. (He probably wasn’t used to all the running around after being sick for a week.) He hobbles into the bathroom like an old man. I make a joke about him needing crutches which reduces him to tears. Feeling guilty for the joke, I get him a hot water bottle. We get him snuggled into bed and hope for the best.

About half an hour later, we hear him crying and we run upstairs. He is sitting up in bed, tears running down his face, telling us how much his leg hurts and how he needs ice. I massage his leg while my husband sets up the ice pack. We give him a dose of children’s advil.

As we are leaving the room, he starts sobbing again.

I ask, “What’s wrong now?”

He says sadly, “Now, I’ll never get to play hockey” and bursts into fresh tears.

I chuckled on the way downstairs. Honestly, I wish I could see into this kid’s brain and see how his thoughts travel.

I guess my future dream of being a hockey mom are over!

Now,  I’m crying too…..tears of joy.

 

What Would Ma Ingalls Do?

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I have two sick kids at home. One has pneumonia and the other, double ear infections. They were pretty sick but now with the medication kicking in, they are on their way to recovery. This is, of course exactly what I want but with the symptoms lessening, it means their demands, arguments and grumpiness are increasing. On days like these, stuck in the house with two tired grumpy children, I wonder what Ma Ingalls would do.

I don’t know much about Caroline Ingalls but I’m sure that she wouldn’t have let her kids stay all day in their pyjamas. She probably wouldn’t have had cotton swabs or construction paper. She wouldn’t  have had citrus juice to make a treat.

God bless you Mrs. Ingalls. I don’t know how you did it!

Here’s what we did today:

Read some more of The Long Winter

(How long can humans survive on potatoes and brown bread, just asking!)

Then made some easy to eat, practically guilt-free treats

(Citrus Jellies thanks to Every Day Food from Martha Stewart)

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups of orange or grapefruit juice ( I used a mix)

1/2 cup sugar

2 envelopes of gelatin

pour 1/2 cup of juice into a bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over and allow to dissolve.

Pour remaining juice into a pan with the sugar. Bring to a boil just to dissolve sugar. Take off heat and stir in the softened gelatin. Stir to dissolve.

Pour into an 8 x 8 baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Cut and serve. Then enjoy.

And did some crafting

(This project comes thanks to Busybee Kids Crafts)

crafting supplies

my example to show the boys

Zeke's snowflakes

Cedric's snowflakes....man?

Memories of Summer

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On these cool, wet February days, it’s hard to imagine that less than 6 months ago we were sitting on the hot beach in New Jersey. Those days are never far from our mind. Our children often bring back the fun we had finding hermit crabs on the beach or seeing dolphins swimming off shore. Another memory fresh in their minds? The boardwalk and fried oreos. Fried oreos and orangeade were big hits with the boys so, we decided to recreate that summer feeling by frying our own oreos. Our inspiration was obviously our trip but also this article in Food Network Magazine:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who knew you could fry all of these items? The Food Network that’s who.

 

So we bought some oreos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Made a super simple batter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At first the oil was too hot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then, perfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These treats are delicious and over the top. They are slightly crispy on the inside and warm and soft on the inside. Obviously, a “sometimes” food, these fried oreos are definitely something you should try whether you are recreating a New Jersey boardwalk or not.  The next time we are reminiscing about the beach we might try this orangeade recipe from Wikihow.

Don’t let these last days of winter get you down, take a walk down memory lane by creating some great dish that reminds you of the carefree days of summer.

Take That Cupid..

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For those of you wondering, we did it! Or at least I did. I was ready for Valentine’s Day early. On Monday night all I had to do was take the cookies out of the freezer and lay out all of the products of our efforts on the table like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought everything turned out so well. I loved the way the cookies turned out. We didn’t use Martha Stewart’s clipart. Instead we used labels we found online. There are so many other options available. We even made our own french labels. I was so happy with the way they turned out that I can feel a repeat coming on. It helps that I still have almost a full box of paper cd envelopes left!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope your Valentine’s Day was as relaxed as ours.