Friday, September 30, 2011

Need a Pancake Recipe?

We had Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes from how Sweet it is for dinner the other day.  I  highly recommend them if you have a few past-their-prime bananas sitting around.  I didn't like the syrup so much (too sweet) but the pancakes are going in my Tried and True folder.  Hearty.  Great warmed up the next day.  Next time I'm making a double batch so I can freeze them.  

What are your favorite pancakes?
"In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response."So head over to her site, An Island Life and answer her question but while you are here you might as well answer mine :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kale Chips

Kale chips. Who knew?  Have you tried them?  I've seen several recipes for these and when I saw kale in the produce department it was time to give them a try.  They took all of a minute to prepare.  Eight minutes to cook.  Two minutes to snarf almost all of them down.  I couldn't help myself. Gotta get my green leafy veggies :)

Kale Chips

Wash and dry. 
Cut into chip sized pieces. 
Spray with olive oil. 
Sprinkle with garlic salt.  
Arrange in a single layer on a pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Honestly, you are not going to screw them up so no need for an exact recipe.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Version of Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a French stewed vegetable dish.  I've never had it and I'm sure this dish isn't the same, but I was at a loss what to call my dish and it IS a stewed vegetable, here is my ratatouille; a comfort food of all veggie proportion.

Saute onion, carrot, celery, and broccoli in the olive oil for 10 minutes.  I like to get some of these veggies a little brown and crunchy.

Cut tomato, tear spinach, and mash lentils.

Add the above, along with the spices and water.  Cover and cook for 35-45 minutes, depending on how soft you like your carrots.

Enjoy!  It's not the prettiest dish but it's comfort food that is healthy and sort of tastes like stuffing without the bread. 

My Ratatouille (which is probably nothing like ratatouille)

1 large onion, sliced
2 or 3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup broccoli, chopped into little pieces
4 cups spinach
1 tomato, diced
1 cup lentils, cooked and mashed
1 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp sage
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water

Saute onion, carrot, celery, and broccoli in the olive oil for 10 minutes.  Add tomato,spinach, and lentils, along with the spices and water.  Cover and cook for 35-45 minutes, depending on how soft you like your carrots.

Go check out Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesday recipes!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The No Sugar Update

Have you ever eaten a no sugar diet?

I have been no sugar for a week now!  Honestly! I turned down the cupcakes and cookies at work and the ice cream social at school.  I didn't even eat the remaining chocolate raspberry filled cupcakes in the refrigerator.  That is a HUGE step for me.   I never thought I could go a week without a sugary sweet treat.  This is what I have noticed....
  • When I get a sugar craving fruit doesn't help.  What does help is a Larabar type bar (dates, coconut, cocoa powder, etc.).  The dates are high in sugar but natural, not refined.  Still gives my blood sugar a surge but perhaps not the same way as white sugar.
  • Obviously, I'm still having sugar cravings, especially after meals.
  • I don't seem to have the emotional highs and lows that I had before.  I was pretty even this week.  I know this will take more than a week to see if it's really true.  I'm a stress situation eater, so this was a nice break.
  • It seems like my sense of taste is more distinct.  I wonder if this is related or that I'm just making some really good veggie dishes :)
  • Pasta still make me overeat.  When you cut out sugar, you cut out a lot of carbs.  Pasta doesn't have sugar so doesn't make your blood sugar go crazy, but it still makes my mind want "more, more, more".     
  • When I splurged and got a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar at the store today, it was the best thing in the entire world.  I could taste every part of it.  YUMMMMMM!  Ingredients:dates, unsweetened coconut, almonds, cashews, extra-virgin coconut oil.  I must try to recreate this one! 
  • I really want to bake some sugary fall treats (Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread, Pumpkin Scones, Apple Cake.....) but may hold off another week and see what else my no sugar diet gives me.  I know I could try the honey or maple syrup sweetener route, but I really want to do as much sweetener free as possible.
Anyone ever do the no sugar deal? 

"In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response."So head over to her site, An Island Life and answer her question but while you are here you might as well answer mine :)


Jenny Appleseed; A Tribute

There is a big Johnny Appleseed festival in first grade today in celebration of John Capman's birthday.  For a few weeks now Lexi has been asking if she could dress up like Johnny Appleseed.  I wasn't really sure what that meant, so we Googled it and found this.....

....which was not what she had envisioned.  She and her sister were up extra early this morning putting the outfit together.  It was entirely their idea and turned out super cute!  That's a pan on her head, girly overall dress, and a name tag that says, "Hi!  My name is Jenny Appleseed".   She also used an over the shoulder satchel instead of her backpack.   Love it :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I am trying to do a two week, no sugar fast.  I have such strong sugar cravings.....followed by salt, sugar, salt, sugar.....which is hard to stop.  I hear that if you go without for awhile, the cravings start to subside.  The hardest part (besides having raspberry filled chocolate cupcakes in my refrigerator) is finding foods with no added sugar.  It's in almost everything!  It's even in my light mayonnaise!  I really have to start making lots more from scratch so the whole family can cut out unwanted sugar. 

Has anyone done this before?   Not sure I can go a whole two weeks without a cookie!

Don't you love morning hair??

I have been using pre-shredded cheese for so long that I hadn't noticed the HUGE difference in taste.  I shredded my own cheese for breakfast and it was so much more flavorful.  Really, really much better.  Add another thing to my to-do list  :)  Maybe I can make cheese shredding someone's chore.

Since the beginning of summer I have been reading the same books as my older girls.  I don't know why it never occurred to me to read their books once they started chapter books.   We can't read together but it's nice to be able to talk about the books when we are done.  I am reading 4th/5th grade level books and loving them.  If you want a good read, check out Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, Flush by Carl Hiaasen, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, or Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng.  You can easily get through them in a weekend.

Any good kid books you can recommend? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Football?

The girls had Back to Football Friday at school today.  Lexi won the "Most Spirited Fan" award.  They love dressing up, no matter what the occasion.  No face paint was allowed so I used a sharpie on some Band-Aids to make the eye-black.   It worked perfectly, no mess and pretty comfortable.  They have been home from school for an hour and they don't want to take them off. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Make Your Own Hullabaloo

The most used game we own is Cranuim Hullabaloo.  It's one game that I don't mind playing with the girls and at every age they have enjoyed it.  If you haven't heard of it, there is a control box that shouts out commands like, "Spin to a triangle.", "Slither to a food.", "Put your hand on a circle and touch your nose to a red.".  There are several pads that you lay all over the floor.  You are told how to move and where to go.  It reinforces colors, shapes, and simple categories (foods, animals, and musical instruments) and encourages creativeness as well, "Winner, do a funky dance.".  We play it over and over.   

I decided to make a similar game for my preschool classroom to help with letters, numbers, shapes, and colors.  I laminated several different colors of plain construction paper and cut a circle, triangle, rectangle, and square out of each color, big enough for at least two children to stand on it at the same time.  I purposely didn't draw anything on them before I laminated because I wanted to be able to change the items that were on them to correspond to our current unit or letter.  Did you know that Sharpie stays on a laminated surface when touched but comes off easily with an eraser?  This is perfect for me to change up the playing pieces.   I placed a piece of self stick Velcro (the harder side) on the bottom of each shape so an unsuspecting student doesn't slide across the room while jumping to a green.  It doesn't make the piece completely stick to the floor but it does catch so the piece won't slide.

I was thinking of putting slips of paper with directions on them in a bowl and draw them as we go, but decided to just call out moves as we go.

Possible items to mark on the pads:

Letters (capital and lower case)
Site Words
Anything you can draw with simple catagories.

Possible movements:

Move sideways

Possible commands:

Move sideways to a red.
Slither to a capital letter.
Fly to an animal.
Put your knee on a vowel, touch your nose to a square.
Crawl to a hippopotamus and join hands with as many friends as you can.
Zoom to a letter that is in your name.

You get it :)
Have fun with it!

This made up game works for me!
See more Works for Me Wednesday ideas as We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I needed to line some baskets for my classroom so I used a pair of old pajama bottoms for the fabric.  I didn't use a patterns but kept putting things together until they were how I wanted them.  I love experimental sewing when it goes right.  It's good for the soul.

Emma found a butterfly that wouldn't let go of her.  It climbed up her arm and into her hair.  There was some squealing involved.   It had some wing damage so we don't think it is going to make it.  She put it into one of our potted herbs where it stayed for a long while.  When we came out several hours later it wasn't there.  Maybe it flew away (or maybe it was a bird's of life, right?) 

Here's the special treat I gave my students on the first day of school.  I just love the square marshmallows.  They are so s'more friendly, how could you not love them?

Here is Scarlett with a picture she drew of her and her sisters (and their hermit crab, Hazel).  So cute!
The new washable dry erase markers are a mom's best friend. 

Anyone try the dry erase crayons yet?  I'm a bit skeptical.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Have You Ever Had a Fig?

I like to try new things so when Publix had their fresh figs BOGO it was time for me to try one. 

I bought two varieties because I had no idea what I was looking for or what the difference was between them.  Turns out the Kadota were much sweeter than the Brown Turkey.  I ate a few, and knowing we were going to be gone all weekend, decided to make a compote out of the rest.

I didn't use a recipe but know that balsamic vinegar is used in lots of fig recipes.  SOOOO.....I cut them up (left the skins on because they didn't seem to have a taste and they weren't tough), added a splash of balsamic, a little sugar, and a little lemon juice, then cooked them until they were the consistency I like when I add fruit to my slow cooker yogurt.  I like to make my own compotes because I can adjust the sugar.  I'm not big on store bought yogurt because even the stuff that should be good for you is so sweet.

It turned out really good and I had enough to put a jar in the freezer for later.  I love how the little seeds add a tiny bit of a crunch. 

Have you ever tried figs?  If so, how did you have them? 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

100 Read & Sing Devotions

My children love music and we find it is one of the best ways for them to learn any subject matter.  We learned the books of the Bible, the state capitals, several full length plays (they also are in theater) and once they learn the song, it is not forgotten.  When I received 100 Devotions, 100 Bible Songs, created by Stephen Elkins and illustrated by Tim O'Connor, I realized it would be a hit with our family.  What better way to learn of God's ways than through song?

Fully expecting 100 short songs containing short verses, I am pleasantly surprised that the songs corresponding to the devotional topic are full length songs, some old, some new.  The book comes with 2 CDs containing them all.  There are many old favorites; "All Creatures of Our God and King", "Jesus Loves Me", "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", the list goes on and on.  There are even some new songs we picked up right away.

Each two-page devotional has a short story, Bible verse, prayer for the day, and a few lines from the song.  Clear references to find to the corresponding song on the CD are found on each page.  The illustrations are colorful and expressive.  My girls are eager to do a devotion each day and like to listen to the CDs while they play. If you are looking for a devotional for young children or even just a Christian Children’s music CD, this does not disappoint. 
This book was sent to me by the Thomas Nelson Publishing company through their BookSneeze program in exchange for a honest review.