Friday, December 3, 2010

Gettin' Crafty With It

Just a few photos of the Christmas gifts I'm frantically trying to complete before the big move. (Still in limbo here, if you're wondering. Hopefully that will change on Monday)

This is a paint bucket I cleaned and decoupaged with sheets of music, mostly from an ancient copy of Handel's Messsiah. I used Mod Podge to stick, and then covered the entire can with a light coat. I also painted the rim and handle pink, and inside there's a pink octopus.  It turned out pretty well, I think.

Here's another can decoupaged with color copies of a childhood book. This one turned out real cute. The paint cans didn't take too long too do, an afternoon and evening. A very satisfying craft. (Emily called me the Recycle Queen, but I would't go that far.)  I have two more cans drying in the garage. Evidently clear plastic paint cans can be purchased at craft stores, but I'm of the opinion that you should reuse whatever you can, even stuff that's usually thrown in the garbage or even into the recycling bin.

This decoupaged box is nearly finished; only a little more sanding and then I will pollute the house or garage (hmmm, poison the dogs or my children..?) and spray it with a sealer, as Mod Podge can be tacky unsealed. The top is several layers of Mod Podge, enough so that the top is entirely smooth. Some people have said it looks painted, but at any rate, it looks awesome.

I'm also refurbishing tin cans into buckets for the boys' teachers, hence the Recycle Queen moniker. Tomorrow we'll make cookie ornaments using a recipe from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook, along with egg yolk paint. Should be fun! And messy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


You may have heard of chia seeds--more than likely from those commercials on television in which you can order a terra cotta head of Elvis along with a packet of tiny chia seeds and after planting and watering, voila! Elvis with a hairy head. Fun, right?

Even more fun is eating those little gray/black seeds. According to the always infallible Wikipedia:

Chia seed may be eaten raw as a whole seed and is an excellent source of omega-3 and dietary fiber (both insoluble and soluble).[citation needed] Ground chia seed is sometimes added to pinole, a coarse flour made from toasted maize kernels. Chia seeds placed in water or fruit juice are consumed in Mexico and known as chia fresca. The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and are used in gruels, porridges and puddings. Ground chia seed is used in baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits. Chia sprouts are used in a similar manner as alfalfa sprouts in salads, sandwiches and other dishes. 

And some more info before we get to the fun part: This is the Chia Cheat Sheet by Angela Stokes of RawReform. Quite a nifty page.

Now onto the yumminess!

I've been eating a bowl of chia pudding nearly every morning for the last week. I was skeptical at first, but quickly became a fan! Even Dyno  Dad likes it (although he did say 'yuck' when he first saw it in his bowl).

Everything you need to make breakfast!
Almond milk, cinnamon, dates, pecans and chia seeds.

 Breakfast Chia Pudding:

1/3 cup pecans (or any nut) soaked overnight
2-3 pitted Medjool dates, soaked overnight
3/4 cup almond milk (or water)
2 Tbl chia seeds
cinnamon to taste

1. in the morning, pour water off pecans and dates.
2. Blend dates and pecans with almond milk, adding as much cinnamon as you like.

3.Pour over seeds and stir. Wait a few minutes, then stir again.

4. Continue to stir and wait until pudding is as thick as you like it.
5.  Eat!
This pudding is fulling, yet light. It's kind of an odd feeling in your stomach. K eats a spooonfull of chia seeds with a glass of water for a quick breakfast most mornings. As the seeds absorb water 10-12 times their size, it makes for a full tummy.
So, who's going to try chia pudding?  Chia seeds can be found in grocery or health food stores. I used Bob's Red Mill Chia seeds.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pickled Ginger

Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad spent last weekend searching for houses, which is not as fun as one might imagine. It involved a lot of driving, from around Naperville to Indiana Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But--we had a pretty nice room at the Westin (yay for points!) and ate some real tasty food each night.

Friday night we ate at Holy Mackerel!, the seafood side to the famous restaraunt Harry Caray, which we didn't try. Harry Caray was the voice of the Chicago Cubs for many years, which I didn't know. I don't really pay attention to sports.

Then Saturday, after a much more productive day (we found a house we like) we travelled back to Chi and ate at Ra, a sushi bar. I'd never had sushi before, but was willing to try it. It was delicious! We had both raw and cooked sushi, and I have to say that the pickled ginger was out of sight!  My fave was the spicy tempura shrimp. The yellowfin tuna and salmon was also good (raw), but i didn't really care for the California roll. I'm not a big fan of Nori.

So all in all it was an enjoyable weekend. The kids had fun with Grandma and Grandpa trick or treating and making cookies and generally having a great time.

I have four pint jars of pickled ginger sitting on my counter. Now all I need is some sushi....

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm a DIY kind of gal

nourishing traditionsImage by NourishingCook via Flickr
Yup. Been missing in action. Did ya miss me? Didnt think so. It's gotten pretty crazy around here in the kitchen. First off, Dyno Dad scored a promotion--Yay for DD! So we are finally leaving The 'Burg!  I think we all have mixed feelings about that, as the new job is in Chicago. Yep. North to Alaska--ok, not really, but I think it's gonna feel like Alaska this winter.....

I've been having fun in the kitchen with my new cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, a b-day gift from my big sis.  I've been experiementing with lacto-fermented foods. Most people's experience with fermented food is has been limited to saurkraut.  Therre's a whole world beyond simply saurkraut. Not to mention that thse types of foods are insanely good for your gut.  So I've made Fermented Bean Paste (called Bean Dip for obvious reasons), and after three days on the counter K and I tried it---tasty! Garlicky and made us wish for a bag of tortilla chips. Mmmm.  Due to be transferred tot he top shelf of the fridge are two pints of Garlic Carrots.

I also made cream cheese! I am serious, people. All it took was to drain a carton of plain yogurt in a cloth lined colander until all the whey dripped out.  Ta Da!   Cream cheese identical in taste to the stuff in the box, I kid you not. It's just a little softer than  the commercial stuff. Guess who won't be buying cream cheese in a box any more?

I'm a DIY Girl.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just Say No to the Cloves

Yesterday I was looking through my recipes for something to make and ran across No Bake Flax Snacks, and thought, 'Cool. I like flax, I always wanted to make these' blah blah blah. As you can see from the photo, the recipe called for ingredients most people would have in their home. There's one thing missing from that photo, and one thing added.   It called for 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cloves, plus cinnamon. Now, if there's anything most people know who bake a lot, it's that cloves are very strong. Strong enough to over power just about anything. (think Christmas candles, ornaments, etc). Cloves are even stronger than nutmeg.

Anyway, so I followed the recipe, hesitating over the amount of cloves, and in the end just cut it down to one teaspoon.  MISTAKE. I should have left all of it out. So I made another batch, this time leaving out the cloves and adding a couple tablespoons of cocoa. Much better. Jake and NoBo took some in their lunches today.

Here is the recipe with my changes:

No Bake Flax Snacks

3\4 cup ground flaxseed
3 Tbl whole wheat flour
1 -1/2 cinnamon
2 Tbl cocoa (approximate)
2 Tbl peanut butter
1/4 cup honey (approximate; probably a tiny bit more)

Combine first for ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Addd peanut butter and honey and knead thoroughly by hand. Tear off bits and roll into small balls. Store in refrigerator.

--from April 97 Prevention magazine

And the moral of the story is: always trust your gut, even when you're cooking.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Can I just say..

Wow. That's all there is to say today, the first full day of school. This morning was sheer chaos--not so much when I had to get the boys ready, but when K and E and Dyno Dad were up. This was even with having lunches fixed the night before (except for Dyno Dad's; my fault).  I was downstairs printing off notes for their lunchboxes and kinda lost track of time. Oops. But all's well that end's well, right? And everyone got out the door with ironed pants and lunches and backpacks.

Now Foo-Foo and I have the house to ourselves, and it's strangely quiet......

Monday, August 9, 2010

What happened to that list of books?

Books in a personal library.Image via Wikipedia
I do this every year. January rolls around and I get this cute idea that I'm going to keep track of all the books I read for the whole year, because I know I read a lot of books, and I'd like to know how many to to satisfy my own curiosity. So I did well the first few months, and then around March, I began forgetting to write them down, and hence they didn't get into my book log on I haven't updated that thing since May--and it wasn't complete.

Some people have asked me where I find the time to read, since I have so many kids and dogs to take care of. The thing is, we all make time for what's important to us. In my case, it's reading and to a lesser extent, writing. Reading a book is my escape; it always has been. Before I had kids I'd lose myself totally inside the story--so much so that I couldn't hear people talking to me. I can't do that any more, for obvious reasons, at least not to the extent I once did.

So I'm kind of bummed about the book list thing. Maybe some day I'll be able to stick with it. I doubt it, though.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Before and After

Sans makeup

The full workup

Glamorous, no?  My skin felt nice from all the skin care products sampled. Mary Kay has some really nice products, especially the mascara! My eyelashes need all the help they can get.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What To Write

I'm wondering just how much of myself I should put in this blog. I have a journal on, but I haven't posted anything in that since the end of May. I might start a new one, fresh start and all that. Should this blog (I really do loathe that word) be just kids and family junk, or should there be some of Mighty Mom in here? This is a true dilemma to quote Pirate Bob.

So today I had a Mary Kay makeover--it was sorta fun, and sorta not. I'm not a big fan of 'glamour', which is what it's all about. Don't get me wrong, I looked pretty good (for me) with all that concealer and moisturizer and foundation and eyeshadow and mascara and---you get the idea. That's an awful lot of stuff to make one look good. I'm more of a natural girl. I don't like putting a bunch of chemicals on my face. The Mary Kay gal talked a lot about retinol-A, and I'm not sure exactly what that is, and if it's a good thing to put on your skin. (I appear to be having difficulty with spelling tonight, pls excuse me)  The gal will be sending my 'before' and 'after' glamour (yeah, right) photo and I'll post it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Favorite Breakfast

Once in awhile, not as often as they would like, Mighty Mom makes cinnamon muffins. They usually last about five minutes.

Cinnamon Muffins

1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/3 butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, egg, and 1/3 cup melted butter. MIx well. Fill greased muffin cups (or line with muffin papers) 2/3 full and bake at 400* for 20 minutes. Remove from tins while still hot. Dip in melted butter, then in mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Makes 12 muffins.
from Not Just Beans by Tawra Jean Kellam


Would you care to try one?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I can definitely feel a shift in the atmosphere around here. Registration is next week, and so is August. August--the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. That is so hard for kids to understand, the fact that the school year isn't really the beginning of the actual year. And why should they understand? When you're a kid, time is measured by whether you're in school or not.

Back to that shift I was talking about a few sentences ago...the kids' minds are moving slowly back into school gear--for some it doesn't fully engage until Halloween. They're more restless, more irritable. NoBo is probably the only one who's actually excited about starting school, and why not? Kindergarten's a blast. Too bad first grade's such a shock.

E wasn't sure if she was ready to be back in school or not. And K...she's just glad to be leaving for Florida on Sunday with her best friend. Disney World and lazing on the beach in Daytona are on her agenda. Lucky brat.  And Mighty Mom can't deny that not having to stand in line at the high school to register K is a definie plus. That sucked big time last year.

So it will be Mighty Mom and Foo-Foo at home together. I think it will be fun, and I'm anticipating more time to write and my goal is to get that pesky synopsis done.  Hopefully all will work out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer's winding down, but things are ratcheting up in the kitchen

Whew--it's definitely starting to get a little crazy around here. Registration is next week, which is hard to believe. Actually, I am looking forward to the start of school. The kids are gettingI' a bit stir-crazy. I am going to try to be more organized this school year--menus, lunches planned, etc. We'll see how it goes. I normally start strong, but the sort of fizzle out.

I've read a couple of pretty good books in the last week, although I really can't recall the titles so perhaps they werent that good after all. :)

Tomorrow is the day for errands: bank, library, Salvation Army, Klassy Kids consignment shop, and the library for K's anime club.

I am making some napkins for the kids' lunch bags from old tablecloths I was given, and I think they're going to be pretty nifty. I have about six pinned, and will sew them this week.  I love refurbishing old things into something new.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Countdown to a less noisy kitchen

So the first day of school is August --it shouldn't be called the first 'day', because the kids are only going for a couple of hours. The folder came in the mail, you know, the one that lists all the fees and such. I nearly had a heart attack when I added up how much I'm going to have to fork over Aug  at registration. Yay.

NoBo will be in Kindergarten,and he is more than ready. I anticipate less problems with him adjusting than with his big brother. He's  lot more easy going.

K took her driver's written test for her learner's permit, and happily reported she passed, having only missed five questions. Unlike when DynoDad and I were around this age, Driver's Ed is offered through the school. With fees, of course.

E is looking forward to seventh grade, and is going to try out for the volleyball team.

J is a third-grader, and I will be sure to speak to the teacher about his reading level.

Wow, boooring post.

In other news, the netbook is going again, thanks to the on-screen keyboard. No drinks are allowed on the desk any more....