Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Blue Egg

1.We have one blue egg left....
It's been so cold my parent's chickens have decided to stop laying for now.
Silly chickens! Don't you know our spoiled family likes fresh eggs...not store bought!?

2.Cutie's Tangerine was our first time. I didn't really care for kids and husband loved it.

3.It was SO warm yesterday! 23 degrees. So we washed the front window. :)

4.The girls came running down from of the attic...
"Mom! The ceiling and the nails sticking out are all frosty."
They grabbed my camera and took a few (around 10,000) pictures.

5.We're learning a lot in school these days...on ;)

6.Happy girl ice skating.

Have you seen the movie or read the book .... 'Not A Fan.'?
If should! Very convicting.
We watched the movie one Sunday with our church after service was over.
You can check out their website HERE.

One of my favorite lines from the movie...
"You know what separates the real from the fakes? Love."
So true...without love we are just a clanging gong.

Hope you're having a wonderful week.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Something to drink and two things to eat.

If you're not feeling well in our house, you are served this lovely orange drink.
It's become one of our "sick" traditions...the kids love it. Perfect for a bad cold or fever. 
I usually make enough for everyone to have a glass sick or not.

Orange Smoothie
6oz. Frozen Juice Concentrate {orange obviously}
1 Cup Milk {or almond milk}
1 Cup Water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 Cup Honey
12 Ice cubes

Blend well. Pour into pretty glass. Add fancy straw. Drink up!
{It takes honestly around 2 minutes to whip these up}

Golden Beets....So hard to find this time of year.
{Whole Foods is the only place I know of that carries them}

Peel and slice the beets, put them in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil..a little salt, a little pepper.
Roast until tender. Mix the beets (and the olive oil from the pan) into a bowl filled with raw spinach.
Top with feta won't even need dressing!

I've posted about this before....and I'll probably post it a thousand more times.
Dutch Baby....One of my MOST favorite breakfasts in all the world.

However, I can't take credit for the above dish.... was my husband who discovered and first tried this dish out. I have never baked one before!

A few of you asked for the recipe...
I'm not allowed to give you the exact one he uses....'s a top secret creation that morphed from the original over the past five years.

Here is the original :)

Dutch BabyOne 10-inch cake; 2-4 servings.

Serve this straight from the oven with a dusting of powdered sugar, a spoonful of the best fruit preserves you can lay your hands on, or buttered apple slices.
{all our good..but I like mine plain}

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk together until smooth:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Melt in a 10-inch oven proof skillet {we use a cast iron pan} over medium heat:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

Tilt the pan so that the butter coats the sides.
Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook, without stirring, for 1 minute.
Place the skillet in the in the oven and bake until the pancake is puffed and golden, 12-15 minutes.

Serve immediately, for the pancake loses it's puff, and therefore its drama, almost immediately.

One of my friends wrote on her blog January is a time to talk about the weather.
How true! Today was freezing. {we've been using the word freezing a lot this year}
The high tonight into tomorrow morning is -20. -38 with the windchill.

My outdoor loving kids have been watching the world from the inside much of this winter.
Happy Monday.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's not that I don't like summer...12 Winter Blues Busters

There's something settling and peaceful about winter. I actually don't mind the season.
Winter allows us time to slow down, focus and learn to be content.
I know, this is where you start throwing tomatoes (or snowballs!) at my computer screen.
But please, hear me out.

Since you're stuck in, why not take advantage before the distractions (and I use distraction loosely ;)
of sunshine and going out for ice cream start pulling us out of our homes!

What better time to get life in order than winter?
I put together a list of 12 things that will make winter not so bad.

1. Acquire Good Looking Winter Wear.
Donning a nice coat and scarf when you leave the house will make you feel better about yourself no matter how crumby the weather. Buy a new pair of boots and I guarantee you'll be watching the evening news in hopes of hearing Tom Skilling announce a snowfall in the future!

And who doesn't love a cute hat? I just adore them on my kids.
Now is the perfect time to learn to knit, crotchet or if you're like me, support those that do! ;)

2. Become An Artist.
You'd be surprised at the amount of art supplies $20 can buy at Hobby Lobby or Michael's.
I must say, it's worth splurging on fancy're going to feel as talented as Rembrandt.

Take art a step further by going to the library and checking out different art books.
Learn artists, techniques and styles of art. Visit an Art Museum.

When artwork is complete, display it in the gallery! (aka the wall ;)
Make a fancy sign that says..."The Gallery"....Hang above all that beautiful art you've just created.

3. Utilize your oven.
Winter is the perfect time to bake! Choose one day a week to have a special dessert.
A Sunday afternoon cake. Cookies together on Saturday. Friday night apple pie.
Your family will look forward to it. You will too.

Make a Pinterest board and choose a new recipe each week.
All those food photos will be very inspiring and get you in the mood to be in your kitchen.

4. Comfort Food.
We've been loving this Mac and Cheese cookbook.
Should you order it? Yes! Yes you should. The Smoked Cheddar and Bacon recipe is beyond words.
P.S. Don't worry about calories, okay? Okay.

Nothing will warm your evening more than a great big pot of chicken soup or a crockpot of chili.
Comfort calorie filled food is the best!

5. Garden.
...on paper that is. Now is the time to research, plan and get creative.
Start a gardening journal. Look into different seeds and order them ahead of time. Start seedlings.
Make sure they aren't genetically modified. (GMO) Burpee is a reliable company.

When the weather and ground are ready, you will be too!

6. Get Your Finances in Order.
What better time to organize the office. Create a new budget. Start a savings account.
File, toss and organize!

7. Deep Clean and Throw Away.
I know our house begins to feel very claustrophobic during the winter months.
I find socks and Legos and trinkets stuffed in couches and what feels like every corner of my house!
Crayons and books and papers are everywhere...especially with homeschooling.
Sometimes I want to scream. Sometimes I do. Ha!

Choose a room a week and clean under beds, dust ceiling fans, wash trim....etc.
Throw out anything you haven't used in the past year. It will feel so nice to be free of un-needed clutter.
If you're going to be shut in, better to be shut in a clean space where you can breath and move.

8. Rearrange Furniture and Buy Something New.
While we're at it...when you finish cleaning up a room, rearrange it!
This time of year the redecorating and remodeling bug bites me hard.
Unfortunately, it stays away from my husband.
Rearranging the house helps get it out of my system.

Buy new dish towels, a new rug or hang a new picture on the wall.
Freshening up the house a bit will make you want to be in it more.

9. Plan an Event.
Plan a party or small get together in your home
We had friends over the other night for popcorn and games.
It was low key and fun..we even wore sweat pants.

Host a make your own pizza night.
Have a candlelight dinner with just adults or a movie night with different flavors of popcorn.

No matter what you're going to have a good time just getting together with others.

10. Have Plants.
Putting plants in your windows will help clean the air and add life to the drab winter.
(just make sure you don't put it too close to your wood burning stove...
it may dry up and turn crunchy and brown no matter how much you water ;)

11. Plan Trips and Outings.
We have friends that plan their camping trips during the winter. What a great idea!
Sit down with your calendar and pencil in trips for the zoo, a day at the beach..even a family cookout.
It will give you something to look forward to, and you will be sure to fit it in since it's written on the calendar!

12. Have a Good Attitude.
Nothing will make you more miserable than having a miserable attitude.
This article  about miserable people made me laugh! It's SO true!

Check it out and make sure you're not doing any of the 14 habits it talks about.
I was guilty of a couple.

God created winter.
His hand is eveywhere...from the tiniest snowflake, to the gorgeous sunsets winter boasts.
Look for things to be thankful for, to find beauty in....even if it's just a cup of coffee.

Studies have shown, those who are the most thankful are the most happy.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Carrot Tops

We were looking out the window at the sunrise,
I grabbed my camera because the colors were so pretty. Jeff said it was about to start snowing.
The above^^^ pictures were taken five minutes apart! I couldn't believe how quickly the sky changed!

It's the little carrots with their tops still on. They get so excited. Why? I have no idea.
Thank you Whole Foods for providing such a thrill. ;)

My family would skate everyday if I took them.
During the week the rink is pretty empty. At times, we have it all to ourselves.
This gives me freedom and space to practice my triple lutz triple toe combos. ;)

And just for fun....
a vocabulary test I found on someone's blog this morning.

We're off to the dentist now.
Hope your week is going well.

Happy Wednesday to you.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

In defense of large families.

Everyone disagrees with things they see in the online world from time to time.
We read, we get aggravated, we move on. But there was this one time....I couldn't let it go!

A friend of mine {mother of seven} posted this article  onto her Facebook page the other day.
To say I read with an open mind would be a lie....the title alone had me up on a soapbox.

Children From Small Families FARE Better Than Children From Large Families- HERE'S WHY
First I thought maybe the article was a hoax. Maybe this woman wasn't real?
I didn't think anyone could really feel the way she did.
But...she's real. and she wrote the article. and she feels that way.

Below are a few statements I copied and pasted from her enlightened findings.

Children from large families are often raised by their parents with just the basic rudiments such as food, clothing, and/or shelter, if that. Children from large families are further taught the principle of just mere instinctive and primal survival, nothing more, nothing less. Children from large families are not raised to appreciate the higher human needs such as appreciation for beauty, culture, the finer things of life, and the importance of self-actualization and individuality. Such things are often beyond the purview of the average large family.

In the homes of typical large families, there are little books and other intellectual paraphernalia.Children from large families begin school academically unprepared and behind.

And finally...My favorite of all her statements!

People of large families are in DEEP, DEEP DENIAL. People from large families are on a DIFFERENT planet from normal people. They AREN'T normal at all. They have a different culture and psychology from us normal folks.

My reaction after reading such rubbish, was to leave a comment....

First, to stick up for my parents!
I wanted to let her know she was dead wrong about our large family and the way we were raised.
I wanted to tell her how pretentious and stuck up her negative stereotyping is!

Secondly I wanted to let her know...
....My husband and I DO teach more than "just mere and primal survival, nothing more, nothing less".
....We have more books than an actual library in our home.
....My children love being outdoors and have a great appreciation for nature.
....We love Monet and Beethoven and my children have a deep love for aged cheese!
{cheese is a finer thing, right?}

But....I didn't leave a comment.

My comment would have done nothing more than irritate her, and/or get deleted...
just like all the other comments she deleted over the past few days that contradicted her opinion.

You see, unless you agree with Ms. Williams, you are not welcome on her page!
Her site is VERY bias!

So she thinks people from large families are from a different planet?  ^^^

Now, now Miss Williams, we are all from the same planet.
The exact same beautiful planet that both small and large families alike notice and appreciate.

I can't speak for every family out there...just like Ms. Williams can't speak for every large family...
but I can speak for the large families I do know (and I know quite a few)...
and not one of them fits into the mold Miss Williams created in her mind and then wrote about.

She writes often about the finer things in life.
She writes how large families are deprived of the finer things.

Well I say to you Ms. is you who is missing out on the finer things.

What could be more finer and beautiful than human life?
Believe it or not, but my children WANT more siblings!

My children know the value of human life....
and it far surpasses a plate of high quality sushi!

I feel bad for Grace Marguerite Williams....She has it all wrong.
She has limited her happiness. Her mind is too closed and small to see past her own ideas.
And her own ideas are so off base with the truth.

I am thankful for my siblings. Every single one of them!
I am more thankful for my brothers and sisters than any new thing or experience I would have had if my parents chose not to have them.

I am thankful for the kids my husband and I have been blessed with.

Large Family/Small is not superior than the other.
Faring better depends upon parents...not family size.
I could go on and on giving reasons why I was offended by Ms. Williams article, but I'll end here.

Oh...and if you're considering having another child...come talk to me...NOT Ms. Williams!
I'll set your mind on the right path. ;)

P.S. Just to be clear...this was not meant to make anyone feel bad for not having a large family. This has nothing to do with family was written in defense of large families. :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

He gave me hydrangeas this morning.

I love hydrangeas...they are one of my favorite flowers.

Today we were supposed to get back to our normal routine..start school again.
The high temperature for today...-13 (-46 this morning with the windchill, it's warmer now...-27)
All public and private schools are closed in the area.

Our school room was dangerously cold...especially near the sliding glass doors.
{Mostly} cancelling was really the only option we had.

This gave the teacher more time to organize and plan ...she was happy.
And it's the teacher's birthday today. And the principle is home from work! (this is a gift in itself!:)

The boys are working on math.
The girls are working on art.

Jeff said because it's my birthday we can do whatever I want today.
My definition of "whatever I want today" and his are not one in the same.
I found this out when I suggested we open up a doorway and knock out a wall this afternoon.

My construction company owning/building/remodeling husband became negative...
...talking about needing material and taking out duct work and moving electrical wiring...
He always makes everything into such a big deal.

I mean, sledge hammer a little, you sawzall a little, you shop vac a little...
Bingo! Project complete.
I'll just settle for a game of Scrabble.  ;)

Hope your week is off to a great start.
And if you live in the midwest...stay warm!

Happy Monday.