Friday, October 9, 2015

{In the Library Bag}

The above books are my latest hall from the library.  Well, one is a book on CD and the three on the bottom are Kate's.

If you can't tell from the picture, the picture books that we have been enjoying are all by Barbara Cooney.  You just can't go wrong with her books.  They aren't all my favorites, but they are all good.  Kate's favorite has been Roxaboxen and then a second close is Miss Rumphius.  The pictures are lovely and the stories so good!  If you think that picture books are only for "little" kids, read this then if you're interested, search Elizabeth's blog for "picture books" and you find a whole wealth of ideas and picture book love. 

Kate loves to pick out her own books at the library, and only rarely do I make her put one back, but sometimes people write the most stupid books!  I always make sure to find some really good ones to add to the pile and then I don't have to discourage her pics, which are based solely on the covers! ;)

My personal favorite in the pile is Dinner: A Love Story.  I love it!  The personal stories are interesting and funny and the recipes are the perfect balance of yummy, but simple.  They are not gluten free, but easily adapted.  The whole point of this book is good food, but easily doable for busy schedules.  I've made a few so far and they've all been hits.  This is the kind of cookbook that would make a great gift. She has another book out and is working on a third.  Based on her blog, I'm sure they will both be good. 

I've enjoyed listening to Hands Free Mama.  It is a tad bit repetitive, but still good.  Definitely a good reminder to pay attention to what is truly important.

How to Sell Your Crafts Online ended up not really being what I wanted.  It's mostly about the computer side of things.  I don't even know exactly what I was looking for, but this wasn't it.  I'm sure it's  a fine book though. ;)

These are ready to go back and there are more requests ready to pick up.  I love the library!  It's like free shopping. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Happy 16th Birthday Callie!!

Look at those eyes!  That smile!  Oh my heart!! 

This poor first born daughter of ours has had to put up with a lot of parenting mistakes.  Yet she loves us anyway!  She enjoys hanging out together as a family, she doesn't mind being hugged in public, she loves hanging out with her Daddy, she loves her little sister, and she puts up with my over sentimental silliness. 
And just look how she's turned out so far!
Sometimes, she might act like a typical teenager, but there is nothing typical about Callie!  She has made parenting quite an adventure and I wouldn't trade her for anything!!
We love you Callie!!  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

{In the Kitchen}


We were given a giant zucchini last week.  I should have taken a picture, but you've seen them.  Zucchini as big as a toddler's toy baseball bat.

In an attempt to feed this family during this extra busy season, I have come up with a supper plan that I think will be helpful. 

Monday, quick and double, or at least make extra.  Tuesday, the girls and I pack a picnic.  Wednesday is crock-pot night.  Thursday is leftover night.  Friday's not a big deal, I can go gourmet or we can eat frozen pizza. 

My plan for Saturdays is to do some bulk cooking.  Not a whole months or even weeks worth, but something that will help during the next week.  Like maybe a double batch of muffins or a big pot of soup that we can freeze half of.  Which brings me to the zucchini.

I made two loaves of gluten free zucchini bread, one 9x12 gf chocolate cake with zucchini, one Swiss-Onion-Zucchini Bake and a zucchini bacon quiche.  I still have half of the zucchini left!!

 Disregard the bits of flour not mixed in the cake.  Never mix a cake in the pan no matter what the     recipe says!

The Swiss-Onion-Zucchini Bake is from one of my favorite cookbooks.  We got it as a wedding present and I'm not even sure from who.  It is A Grand Heritage:  A Culinary Legacy of Columbus, Mississippi. It's a collection of recipes contributed by women in the area and I'm sorry to say you will not find this on Amazon.  You'll have to marry someone from Columbus. :)  I have never made anything out of this book that was not delicious.  Sometimes I forget about, but I'm always glad when I pull it out again.

I'm assuming I can share this recipe.....

1 large Spanish onion
3 c. thinly sliced zucchini
1/4 c. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. milk
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 .t dry mustard
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese

Sauté onion and zucchini in butter until tender; place in shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Combine eggs, milk, seasonings and half of cheese; pour over vegetables.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until firm.  Serves 6.

I did not have dry mustard and I had Gruyere cheese which I think is a bit milder than Swiss.  And it did not serve 6! :)  I will double it next time I think

The quiche was my favorite.  Bacon!  I only used four pieces crumbled up with cheese and mixed with a little cream and I think 5 eggs.  I sautéed the zucchini first and used over a cup of it shredded.  You could hardly tell it was in there.

We ate the casserole for supper, some of  the bread for snacks (one loaf is still in the freezer), and we had the cake for dessert on Sunday, and yesterday and the quiche for breakfast on Sunday.  Someone may have had cake for breakfast. 

The other part of my plan is that Cameron cooks Saturday night.  I'll let you know how that goes. ;)

Monday, September 14, 2015

The First Three Weeks......

have been wonderful,

and funny,

this is what Kate was doing one morning during the reading of A Little Princess

and creative,

and full of sweetness,
and yes, a little crazy sometimes! 

don't worry, shared with permission
Of course, it should go without saying, there have been a few moments of frustration and maybe even some grumpy, tearful moments too, but overall it's going really well.  I'm really proud of the one who has stepped it up this year and really proud of the sleepy head who is mostly getting up with out hating me and really praying for the one who apparently didn't learn anything last year. LOL  Just kidding.  Sort of.  Let's just say, next summer will contain a little bit of review here and there.

Monday, August 31, 2015

{In the Kitchen}

First up, shampoo.  Yes, shampoo in the kitchen.

I've been making our own shampoo for a couple of months now.   It's super easy and inexpensive.  You may be thinking "why bother?".

Well there are four reasons.  Two people in our house have some scalp issues, one person in our house has major allergy issues and the fourth person does not want to buy expensive, all natural shampoo or harsh chemically loaded dandruff shampoo.

I found this recipe, but I do not use the herbs.  It is super fast to mix up and I love this recipe because it still lathers up nicely, which a lot of the all natural products do not.  The verdict is still out on whether or not it will kick the dandruff, I'm still playing around with which oils are best for that, but it sure feels good and the price is right.

Also over the weekend we made gluten free apple pie.  I used a mix for the crust, Bob's Red Mill, and it was really good!  I'll admit that I was skeptical, but it was really, really good.  Callie has been begging for pie for ages and I just kept putting it off thinking that it wouldn't be any good.  It was fun though and I'm going to teach her how to make regular crust soon.  I used to make pies all the time but had stopped because of the wheat issue and life just gets busy.  But, life's too short not to have pie on a semi regular basis!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday With Words

I'm joining Dawn at Ladydusk for Wednesday with Words.

This month I've been reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  I read this book years before I had Callie.  I don't remember what prompted it then, but I remember being profoundly moved by it.  I thought if everyone could read this book, surely it would change the attitudes that some people have towards those of different ethnic groups.  I also remember thinking when I had children they were going to read this book!

So here we are and Callie is old enough and we are studying the War Between the States {otherwise known as the Civil War, and as my Southern husband likes to call it, the War of Northern Aggression :)} in American history.

There are so many lines in this book that I find moving, but the following, written towards the beginning of the book,  I found not only moving, but absolutely fascinating.  What an interesting thought about the continent of people who have suffered so severely for so long.

"If ever Africa shall show an elevated and cultivated race,-and come it must, some time, her turn to figure in the great drama of human improvement,-life will awake there with a gorgeousness and splendor of which our cold western tribes faintly have conceived. In that far-off mystic land of gold, and gems, and spices, and waving palms, and wondrous flowers, and miraculous fertility, will awake new forms of art, new styles of splendor; and the negro race, no longer despised and trodden down, will perhaps, show forth some of the latest and most magnificent revelations of human life.  Certainly they will, in their gentleness, their lowly docility of heart, their aptitude to repose on a superior mind and rest on a higher power, their child-like simplicity of affection, and facility of forgiveness.  In all these they will exhibit the highest form of the peculiarly Christian life, and, perhaps, as God chasteneth whom he loveth, he hath chosen poor Africa in the furnace of affliction, to make her the highest and noblest in that kingdom which he will set up, when every other kingdom has been tried, and failed; for the first shall be last, and the last first."

I am close to the end.  It's making me crazy because I can't remember how it all turns out. 

The other quote that I wanted to share I read last night.  I wonder if I would have this perspective after being beaten half to death because of refusing to beat someone else?

Tom is talking to a fellow slave, Cassy, after a severe beating. Because of their experiences Cassy is convinced there is no God or if there is He has turned against them.

"Ye said the Lord took sides against us, because He lets us be 'bused and knocked round; but ye see what come on His own Son,-the blessed Lord of Glory,-wa'nt He allays poor? and have we, any on us, yet come so low as He come?  The Lord han't forgot us, I'm sartin' o' that ar'.  If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign, Scripture says; but, if we deny Him, He also will deny us.  Didn't they all suffer?-the Lord and all His?  It tells how they was stoned and sawn asunder, and wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, and was destitute, afflicted, tormented.  Sufferin' a'nt no reason to make us think the Lord's turned agin' us; but jest the contrary, if only we hold on to Him, and doesn't give up to sin."

The language differences may make it a little tricky for Callie, but I hope she will like the book even a little as much as I do.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ready or Not!

It's that time of year again! 

 Never has the planning of a school year and First Day of School been so tricky!  Plan A had to be scrapped for Plan B (which was a blessing as far as delaying our start date a bit) and it was quite a feat finding a day that would work for both families.  {You can read about our First Day traditions here}.  Outside classes and activities as the kids get older are a good thing, but they are not without their challenges.



 We finally got a date on the calendar and settled on the zoo as our outing.  It had been a few years since any of us had been.  Since that time the zoo has added orangutans and koala bears.  The koala bears are on loan from the San Diego zoo and will be leaving soon.  They were sleeping when we were there, but you could still tell that they were sooo cute!!  The orangutans were funny, but I'm not sure I would use the word cute. 

The planning of our classes has also required some flexibility.  Callie was suppose to be taking two classes at our local co-op, but one has been cancelled, so that will require a Plan B also.  We were disappointed, but know that it will all work out in the end and could be a blessing in disguise.

The day before our official First Day Of School Field Trip, the weather was so cool and fall like that we just had to go to Eagle Creek park.  Callie had recently mentioned wanting to go and this was the perfect day.  Eagle Creek is a city park of Indianapolis, along a reservoir, with  trails and a great nature and ornithology center.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  If we had brought a hammock and supper, I don't think I would have left!  It was really good to take notice of God's beautiful creation and just take a deep breath, knowing that once school, ballet and co-op starts, things will get a little nuts.  There won't be as much freedom to just run to Eagle Creek if we want to.  I'm so glad I didn't talk myself  into staying home and "getting things done"!  When are things ever "done?"


I'm pretty excited about the great books we'll be reading this year.  I'm almost finished pre-reading Callie's first Literature selection, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and you'll hear more about it later.  Kate's first book will be A Little Princess.  I've read it once or twice to Callie and at least once when I was young.  I have no problem reading it again!  Some books just never get old.  The one I really can't wait for is Little Lord Fauntleroy!  Oh my goodness!  I love that book.  One of my all time favorites and the best movie with Ricky Schroeder, which unfortunately I cannot find on DVD.  Someone really needs to do that! 
{Actually, Amazon has it.  For $40!  I don't think so!!}

The school room has been cleaned out and dusted, the chalkboard wall at the bottom of the steps is full of inspiration (go here for a free devotional, the cover of which I printed and hung)  and we have a bouquet of sharpened pencils.

Say a little prayer for us? :)