Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Trail Mix Day

I’ve never called Trail Mix . . . Trail Mix.  I have always known it as GORP, “good ‘ol raisins and peanuts.”  Except growing up, my mom always threw in coconut flakes and M & M’s (much to my dad’s delight). 

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In honor of National Trail Mix Day, we sampled some Bear Naked Trail Mix.  We nibbled on  Cranberry Protein,

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and devoured Chocolate Cherry.

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In our home taste test, Mr. Smackdown like the Cranberry Protein the best.

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And without a doubt, which you can observe from Sir Honey’s full mouth, he and I liked the Chocolate Cherry the best.

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Thanks, Bear Naked for sending us a treat to properly celebrate National Trail Mix Day!  But there is one problem . . . I really like your chocolate cherry mix.  You knew that would happen, though.

For those of you who would like something from Bear Naked . . . you can fan them on Facebook and get a coupon (while supplies last).

Happy Trail Mix Day!  Go on a hike!  Enjoy God’s creation!

Monday, August 30, 2010


I used to think that okra was ONLY a southern dish.  I didn’t want much to do with it.  Then, when I was making baby food for Mr. Smackdown some six years ago, I tried okra and was disturbed.

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It’s slimy.

I can understand mango being slimy . . . or even a banana.  You get a sweet reward for putting up with its sliminess. 

But okra? 

However, in India they know how to cook it right.  I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when we stopped to have dinner at my favorite Indian restaurant (India Sizzling). 

Last week, Okra became available in my Farm Fresh basket.  This week, I ordered two shares of it.

And here is the recipe for why I am so stoked for my dinner tomorrow night.

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Bhindi (aka Okra)

  • 2 cups (I’m guessing), beheaded and detailed, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 onion (want to know how I cut onions?)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2  tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used butter mixed with olive oil, but coconut oil, or Palm Oil would also work well)
  • salt, to taste

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After washing chopped bhindi, allow it to dry. Heat oil in a frying pan, and when hot add the cumin and onion, cooking until translucent.

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Add the chopped bhindi and all the spices.  Sautee until the okra turns dark green and softens.

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Finally add salt to taste.

Note:  I allowed our okra to get slightly crispy and perhaps a little burnt.  It was served with Teriyaki Chicken (from Nourishing Traditions), local sweet corn, and Red Raspberry Leaf tea, of course.

How to cut an onion . . . seriously

When we lived in India, our cooks got a BIG kick out of how I cut an onion.  They were giving me a cooking lesson, and stuck me with the tearful task of chopping onions.

You people who wear contacts do have it lucky – you can cut an onion without crying. 

Upon returning to the States, a kind friend taught me her simple technique that is fast and effective.  I still tear up . . . but sometimes I can be quick enough with my hands -- not giving the onion a chance to team up with the air to make me cry.

To slice an onion, using a sharp knife (I like Cutco) make vertical crosshatching incisions through the onion body, but not down to the cutting board.  You don’t want your onion to fall apart.

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Your onion should look like a flower waiting to bloom.

With a firm hand, turn your onion onto its side.  Slice perpendicular or vertically down towards the cutting board.  If done properly you will see tiny little pieces fall before your very cautious eyes.

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Hurry!  You don’t want to cry!

(Use this cutting technique to make Okra!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tot School: 27 months


Mr. Smiley, 27 months

Tot Trays

Mr. Smiley jumped on board with his older brothers and earnestly wanted to play with our alphabet letters.  He screwed and unscrewed the lid.

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The pegs made it into the stacking cups and out of the cups.  He even discovered that a stacking cup was missing.  Boy was he mad (according to my mom).

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Colored popsicle sticks . . . they can go anywhere.  In a cup, dumped, slapped together.

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Another day’s worth of Tot Trays . . . can you tell that stacking cups are a hit?

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Smiley mailed a bunch of paint chips.

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He also learned colors with Mama and cleaned up all of his paint chips.

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Day three Tot Trays . .  .

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The stacking cups with the colored links were a hit.  He didn’t touch the other two trays.  After dinner, I found him at his school desk with the mailbox on one side and his links before him with all of the stacking cups spread out.  He was one happy camper!

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Auntie always has a lap open for Mr. Smiley to read a book.  She is the ONLY person that he will sit through an entire book and ask for another book.

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Smiley had fun trying out our new tea set we were sent to review from EcoMom.  Stay tuned for a giveaway!

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For more Tot School posts and to learn about Tot School, head on over to Carisa’s blog at 1+1+1=1!  

Friday, August 27, 2010

Preschool Corner with Sir Honey

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  Sir Honey, Age 4

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Square Time (Circle Time)

This has been a GREAT addition to our school day this year!  Sir Honey is loving pulling stuff off of our board and placing new numbers and words back onto the board.  We are working on learning the Lord’s Prayer and saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  Today finished our 9th day of school.


This week our curriculum focused on the Letter E.

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Workboxes are going much better this week now that Sir Honey understands how to match the numbers up and put the velcro squares onto his box.  He likes getting out of his desk and being given some freedom.  Working on his own still is NOT a highlight for him.  However, I hope that with time he will gradually learn that I don’t have to hover over him for him to do a good job.

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(Coloring in his character coloring book)

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(We pretended that this stickers were egg yolks.)

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(Instead of creating paper letters this year, I am going to have Sir Honey paint a wood letter each week.  It slightly less time consuming—for me.)

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(Playing with magnets)

Life School

With Mr. Smackdown (6) being gone at Grandma’s for a little over a day, Sir Honey took the role of big brother in the house very seriously.  He not only became overly helpful (by cooking, taking out trash, cleaning the floors, and helping with the compost) but he played with his little brother, Mr. Smiley and tended to Smiley’s needs!

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Having a rest time downstairs . . . the perks of having some extra mom-time while Big Bro is away.

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Taking the compost out . . .

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Soaking up time with Auntie before she leaves town . . .

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For other Preschool ideas or to just see what other families are doing, head on over to Homeschool Creations

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Simple Woman’s Daybook (3)


FOR TODAY:  Thursday, August 26, 2010

He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.  Proverbs 21: 20

(Oh, how I have a lot of work to do to accomplish this verse.)

Outside my window... it is beautiful.  Sunny.  Colorado clear blue skies even though I am in Indiana.  Our new neighborhood lacks a real woods, yet I hear lots of bugs and birds.   One of my favorite sites of the day – the mail truck just went by.

I am thinking... that having two children is much easier than three.  I am going to be in for a surprise when #4 comes along in the next few weeks.  I am also thinking how blessed I have to have such a wonderful family that throws me a beautiful baby shower (and for all of the ladies who came or even considered coming!).

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I am thankful for... a refrigerator that supplies me with endless ice.  I am grateful that tomorrow I may very well may have some more English Muffins.  I am also thankful for hand-me-down composters from parents and for a friend with a large vehicle who transported my dirt producing container home.

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From the learning rooms... school was accomplished quickly before Mr. Smackdown left for a fun overnight at Mama’s house.  Him being gone allowed Sir Honey and I to work together the whole morning on his workboxes without him becoming frustrated.  And the school room is . . . messy.

From the kitchen...   yogurt is being made and I am attempting to turn soy milk into kefir.  (Don’t worry . . .  I know that many of you know that I am anti-soy . . . it is in our house for only a season).  Lord willing I will be bringing some Farmer’s Market fruit into our kitchen tonight and making teriyaki chicken with local corn on the cob.

I am creating... work (still) for my blog designer, Jessica of The Frilly Coconut, to create tabs and a pull down menu to clean up my blog and make it easier to navigate.  Also, I am getting ready to sew my new Baby Girl’s sling!

I am going... to try to go to bed earlier.  Also, I would like to laminate some more, hang an alphabet up in the school room, create a Brown Bear Lapbook, and cut some other things out. 

I am reading… the Bible and Mansfield Park.

I am hoping... that I will actually get a good night’s sleep tonight and accomplish something before I get that great night’s sleep.  I am also hoping that I get my birth tub EARLY.  Like tomorrow. 

I am hearing... Sir Honey ask A LOT of questions and a chain saw dicing a tree.

Around the house...the floors need to be swept and mopped. There is laundry to be folded.  And all of my essential oils are spread all over our bedroom.  But I am not bothered by most of this.  It is bright. 

One of my favorite things...chocolate ice cream with peanut butter chopped up into it. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: have chai with a friend tomorrow to learn about how I can help her minister to youth, going to Lowes, a soccer game,and  the symphony.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

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Going out to the compost container for the first time, Sir Honey was anxious to assist me since Mr. Smackdown was gone. 

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Link up and read more daybooks at Peggy's blog.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Kale

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Suddenly, what I was eating for dinner looked appealing to my 4 year old.  However, he had already claimed fullness and had asked to be excused from the table.  Even his older brother with the bottomless pit of a stomach was full. 

How hungry was he?  Nothing that a stalk of kale couldn’t determine.

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After eating kale for about 15 minutes, he asked to be excused from the table for the second time that evening and promptly forgot about what I was having for dinner.

Wordless Wednesday brought to you by 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Whisper on the Wind: A Review


I have discovered that I like historical fiction.  It can really make history come alive.  I know that these books must be read with caution, and that the fiction must be separated from the fact.   But it gives history more dimension. 

Whisper on the Wind, by Maureen Lang, takes place in a German occupied Belgium.  It is the story of a young socialite girl who travels back to this war torn area, after leaving two years prior.  Desperate to save the family that took care of her while her parents hobnobbed with society, she made the dangerous journey back at the risk of her life.  In the process, she becomes a secret worker for the underground newspaper beside the man she has loved since childhood. 

Filled with suspense, drama, and history, this is an entertaining and gripping book to read. 

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

This book was sent to me for free from Tyndale House Publishers.  I was not paid for this post, nor do I have to return it.  All opinions expressed are mine!

English Muffins

I had no idea that I could learn to make English Muffins.  Crazy. 

But you can make them. 

And in reality, it is best to eat the things that you can make in your own kitchen, besides what God grows for you in the ground and raises for you in a pasture .

Homemade English muffins

Using my sourdough starter (that survived the move), I made a sponge dough that fermented overnight.

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In the morning, I added salt and 4 cups of wheat flour.

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I tossed some corn meal on the counter and divided up my dough into approximately 16 equal balls.

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Each ball was rolled out slightly and then the process of unification began. 

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Using our drinking glasses, I cut out perfect circles.

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Once I reformed the scrap dough, I ended up with 21 English Muffins.

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They sat for 4+ hours to rise.

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After they had doubled in size, I cooked them over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side. 

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The anticipation mounted in the kitchen. 

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It was time to sample this fermented bread.

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Sadly, as of this morning, they are all gone.  However, these English Muffins just might very well become staples in our kitchen pantry.

And if you would like to know in detail how to make these muffins . . . you’ll have to purchase Sue Gregg’s Whole Grain Baking recipe book.    I can’t give you the recipe, but I can tell you it is a great cookbook!

By the way, I just blogged about this because I was excited.