Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve

Things are gearing up over here for the celebration.

Friday, December 30, 2011

All You Need is Love....and a Little Whipping Cream

Last week we spent a day making butter to benefit Love Them Home.  Snowville Creamery & Whole Foods generously donated all the needed supplies and we were off and running (or making!) butter at 8 a.m. that morning.  With 3 mixers going, and a little bit of love, it didn't take long to turn that cream into delicious, whipped butter.  The kids wanted to offer 2 flavors, cinnamon and garlic parmesan, and since I was letting them run the show, that's just what we did!

We made 60 containers of butter and they were spoken for faster than we could get them labeled!  Thanks to friends and family and many "strangers" on Facebook that saw the posts and even met us at Whole Foods to collect their butter and make a donation.  Love.

The fundraiser was a smashing success.  Financially, yes.  But more than that, it was an amazing opportunity for my children to see the love that people will share with each other.  At one point during the day we received an email from a woman, who we didn't know and who lived several hours from our home.  She had read the post on Facebook and wanted to make a way to support the cause.  All you need is love.

Japanese Steak House

The girls announced earlier this year that they wanted to take Grandma & Papa out to dinner "because they do so many nice things for us."  Completely, 100% their idea and they came up with very creative ways to raise the funds.  I love their hearts.  And how looooong it took them to save the money!  (aka: a lesson in diligence)

So, last week all 9 of us headed out to the Japanese Steak House for a night of fun.  My favorite memory was watching the boys faces as the chef made the onion ring of fire.  What a great night!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When your 10 yo daughter paints this after overhearing that a couple we know has decided to "call it quits" you.........well, you just sit down and have a good cry.  You cry at the injustice that kids are involved in adult issues, because they shouldn't be.  You cry because this sort of thing just. shouldn't. happen.  But it does.  You cry because you have a crazy cool kid that has such a heart for love, and takes the time to paint it.  And then you dry your eyes and reflect on how thankful you are.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Christmas Eve.  The kiddos always open stockings but this year they convinced us to open a couple gifts they had for us.  So sweet!  And I love my little Ellie Bug's smile....she has lost 3 teeth in the last couple weeks!

Madeline made a duct tape barrette for Abigail and the whole thing just made my heart sing.  All 3 girls have created duct tape factory and make purses, wallets, flower pens, barrettes and more.  You're welcome, Duck Tape Brand.

This is where I would have placed the picture of Madeline opening her iTouch.  It was a huge surprise and a priceless moment.  Yes, the hands-on-both-cheeks surprised picture that you can't believe you captured.  Until you find it has been erased along with a few other priceless Christmas memories.  Drat.

Gabe and Lincoln trying out their personalized capes and masks from  Peanut Pop.  Aimee, my boys looooove your capes.  Thank you!

Christmas Evening, singing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  My favorite part?  GLLAM still wearing their jammies.  **big smiles**  Merry Christmas, indeed.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

GLLAM with Grandma and Papa on Christmas morning.....a family tradition

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.  
Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, December 24, 2011

3 Bald Heads

Gabe decided he didn't want to be the only male in the house with hair.  Much to my chagrin.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I was wrapping gifts with my family this week which my sisters took as a perfect opportunity to stage an intervention.  See, Lincoln cut his hair while we were on holiday in Mexico (and then again the day we returned home, and at least once more since then....) and I have been trying to make like it never happened with the old man comb over.  

They wanted to let me know it wasn't working.  Really?  It's that obvious??

In the end, Ron had his way with him and buzzed it all off.  I almost cried.  A tad dramatic, I know.

He's still my baby, hair or no hair.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

I discovered these lovely butternut squash in our CSA bag and decided to try my hand at butternut squash soup.  My inspiration was a recipe I saw in a local magazine.  I loosely followed it (since it called for a bunch of veggies and I wanted a simple soup) so I'll share with you what I did.  Warning:  this soup is very basic.  Next time I will add some garlic and probably some ginger, maybe some cayenne?

Cut squash length wise and scrap out the "guts" - seeds can be seasoned & baked.....yum!  Place squash on a broiler pan and salt/pepper & drizzle the oil of your choice over top.  I used coconut oil since the smoke point of my cold-pressed EV olive oil is much lower and I didn't want to bake these all day!  I baked them on 375 for about an hour.

In the meantime, grab your favorite soup pan and saute an onion in a bit more coconut oil.  Add some chicken broth.....about 3 cups.  I used filtered water with Better Than Bouillon.  Sprinkle in salt/peper, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Once your squash is soft and brown, you can scrap out the insides and throw them into your blender.  The magazine suggested evaporated milk but I added a package of cream cheese.  Why?  Because it just sounded delightful.  Slowly stir your creamy mixture into your soup pan.

Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the top.  Or don't.  Either way.....voila!  
It was a huge hit and couldn't have been more simple to make.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paul Klee

The girls created this art inspired by the artist, Paul Klee and one of their favorite poets, Shel Silverstein.

(please take note of the baby's feet sticking out from under the babysitter's rump)


Lauren used her own inspiration and created this piece she appropriately named, "A Bug's Life."

Surprise Letter

Often we wake in the morning to a letter outside our door.  Today's letter made me smile extra big and I asked for permission to post on my blog.  It was written by one of my middle kiddos and she asked me to use her code name, Peaches, for the post.  (is that so stinkin' cute!??)

A little background:  I have been reading Pollyanna aloud to GLLAM and we finished the book last night.

Dear Mom,
I love you so much and I thank you for homeschooling me.  I'm so glad I have two legs you know.  Pollyanna has got to be blessed that she still has two legs that's why I pray everyday telling God how thankful I am to have two legs, food, water, etc.  Can't wait for the next book you are going to read us.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  PS - I love you soooooooooooooo much.
With heaps of love to you,

How could I not have the bestest day ever after waking up to that!?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln

Strong, brave, working
honest, reading, wise
loving, caring, speeches
books, smart, advise.....

by: Abigail Marie

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Potato Mushroom 20 minutes

We picked up our CSA today and it contained fresh potatoes and mushrooms which inspired me to make soup.  It took 20 minutes from washing the veggies to sampling the first spoonful.  That's my kind of meal.  

Melt a spoonful of coconut oil (or butter) in a large pan over medium heat.  Dice some onion and saute for 5 minutes.  Add 3 cups of chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon mixed w/ water) and then add a dash of salt, pepper and dill.  Dice 1 lb. of potatoes and add to broth.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat.

In a skillet, add a spoonful of coconut oil (or butter) and mix in mushrooms.  Saute for 5 minutes and then stir into soup.  (you could do any veggie here.....carrots, celery, whatever you have on hand.)

In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of cream with 1/4 cup of flour.  I skimmed the cream off our milk and used spelt flour.  Stir into soup.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh dill or rosemary.  Or don't garnish at all.  It won't be sitting around long enough for anyone to notice.  My crew gulped it up and asked for seconds.  Me?  I can't stop eating it.......

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Here's Abby arranging the veggies from our 1st winter week CSA

Week 1 brought us the following:
7 variety salad mix including mizuna & tatsoi
shitake mushrooms
sunflower microgreens
pe-tsai (asian greens)
Japanese white turnips
butternut squash
carola potatoes

What is a CSA, you ask?  A CSA is a way for families to buy local, seasonal (and for us, organic) food directly from a farmer.  You purchase shares at the beginning of the season and enjoy the fruits (pun intended) each week thereafter.

The benefits are great for families as you get to enjoy ultra-fresh food with lots of extra vitamins and enzyme benefits and you also get to learn more about how the food is grown and how to best prepare it.

The advantage for the farmer is great cash flow!  They receive payment early in the season and can then focus their time on what they do best -- growing delicious food!

As a side note, CSA's are great for kids.  For some reason, they are much more likely to eat turnips that were grown on "their" farm! :)  We can't wait to pick up week 2 tomorrow!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fruits of the Family Tree

Madeline's 2nd article was published this week in Edible Columbus and she is now being referred to as "one of their writers" which, as you can imagine, is a dream come true for her.

Check out her article, Fruits of the Family Tree.  If you want to see the full spread with extra pictures, click on "Read our Latest Issue" when you get to the link and see page 18-19.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Running Away from Slavery

The girls recently put on a short play (without words) to raise the final few dollars for their bunny hutch.  It was entitled, Running Away from Slavery.
(I was prohibited from filming the actual play and was told I could only film the music portion)

Admission fee was very reasonable.

"I'm running away.  And takin' my baby with me!"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Madeline & Abigail entered a contest this summer for Zoobooks where they submitted a drawing of an endangered animal of their choice.  They each received a letter today saying they had been chosen from over 800 entries to be published in the upcoming magazine issue.  Way to go, girls!

An endangered woodpecker by Abigail, age 8

The Endangered Tucan.  By Madeline, Age 10

Monday, December 5, 2011

Playa Mujeres one word, amazing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Where the Teacher Becomes the Student

One of my kiddos brought this to me today.  Apparently there is a family meeting tonight where they will challenge us to complete each "mission" sometime during the month of December.  Some as a family, some on your own.

I've always loved a good challenge!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Static Cling Much?

Snapped this picture yesterday when Gabe & I were jumping on the new trampoline.  His hair had me cracking up.  And now I am laughing again.....
(please take note of the Star Wars t-shirt that I purchased for my son.  When I brought it home he said, "You're the best Mommy eeeeeeever!")

Thursday, November 10, 2011

ERGO Saves the Day....Again!

The only sure fire way your almost 2 and a half year old will not wander off as you are working outside.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Collard Greens Smoothie

Today's green smoothie is brought to you by Lauren and features collard greens.

This is the recipe for our family.  You may want to use a bit less.
3 c. filtered water
1 organic lemon, cut off outer layer of skin but leave pulp
1 organic mango, everything but the seed
1 organic apple, seeds & stem
4 large organic mustard green leaves
Grind this down and then open blender and add as many other organic greens as you can smash in.  Today we added dandelion greens, kale & red chard.  Our goal is to get about 1 lb. of greens in total. 
(I sprinkle chia or hemp seed in after I grind it)

Look at that beautiful green color!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The "ALT"

Madeline surprised me by sneaking in and making lunch for me today.  We spent every second outside (even schooling) since it was 70 and sunny.  That's what you do in the Midwest when its November -- or anytime really!

Here's her recipe for what we call the "ALT"  -- avacado, lettuce & tomato

Spread some coconut oil on an Ezekiel wrap and throw it on a hot griddle
Load it with smashed avacado (she added a squeeze of lime and garlic), diced tomatoes and salt/pepper
Throw another wrap on top
When its almost done, lift the top wrap and add a handful of your favorite greens.

We happened to have some organic, no nitrate bacon on hand today so she cooked a slice of that and added it to the wrap as well.  Delish!  What a treat for me to sit on the patio and be served lunch by my 10 (and a half! ;)) year old daughter!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Spelt Cookies

I helped Mommy make cookies with spelt today.  We ground the spelt into flour and away we went.
(and before you go thinking I got into the liquor cabinet, that's homemade vanilla in the vodka bottle!)

My friend Kathy gave me the recipe.  I'm posting it below but you can find it here....along with lots of other yummy recipes and tips.
1 1/4 cup fresh milled spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sucanat
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup oil  (I used coconut oil)
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup pecans
Preheat oven to 350.  Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Combine syrup, vanilla, oil in a separate bowl and then add to dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Add chocolate chips and pecans.  Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.   This recipe only makes about 12-16 cookies, so you may want to double it. a side note, I always refrigerate my dough for a few minutes before baking (if you are using freshly milled flour.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Art 301

Madeline created this piece today which she titled, "New Beginnings."  Her interpretation:  The sun represents God and the tree represents us.  The leaves are our love that we are giving to the world.

Abigail titled her painting, "Sunship Earth."  Her interpretation:  Everything works perfectly together between the earth and the sun and everything has its own job.....God created it that way.

Lauren stuck with markers and a dry erase board and titled this picture, "The Dolphin & the Palm Tree."  Her interpretation:  This is a picture of a dolphin in Hawaii.  He's gotten close to shore which is why you see the palm tree.  I'm not sure who's in the sailboat.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Stratford Ecological Center

I snapped this on my cell as I was dropping off the girls for science week at Stratford Ecological Center. They run tons of homeschool alternative schooling programs and we love hanging out at their farm.

This week's program is called, "Sunship Earth" which was created by the Institute for Earth Education in the 1970's.  It is an amazing program and the girls learned enough today to make it worth our while....and they have 4 days to go.  Suffice it to say, they are teaching me things!

My favorite part of the program (aside from the fact that they are outside all day doing hands-on learning) is the "garbage-free lunch" instructions.  Yes, parents were given specific instructions on healthy lunch choices which include good nutrition and homemade food -- no pre-packaged items!

I have to say, it made my organic heart smile.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Charlotte Jane

I am proud to announce our newest miracle and niece, Charley.  She truly is a miracle.  You'll get to read about her story soon but in the meantime you can head over and read her big brother's miracle story here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Science Experiment #9763

The kiddos are always coming up with food experiments.  I think they get many of their ideas from reading tidbits out of Michael Pollan's Food Rules.  Of course we have already pre-ordered the latest edition, duh!  Did I just say, "duh?"  As a homeschooling mom, I don't think I'm allowed to say that.

Lemons rot.

Twinkies do not.

But, while we're on the subject.  Do you remember our 1st experience with Twinkies?  Click here to read more about that.

*I lovingly refer to my mom as "crazy" on the Twinkie post because she was super into health refined sugar, huge garden, raw milk, eggs right from the chicken.  Hmmmm.  Sounds strikingly familiar.  You raised me well mom.  I love you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is it Really Time? It Can't be Time Already?!

You know its time to think about transitioning from a nursery to a "big boy" room (and possibly potty training?) when your 2 yo is on the changing table, and as you turn your back to help another child, he climbs down from the changing table, runs to the bathroom, climbs onto the potty and by the time you jettison in, he is peeing in the potty.

"I had to pee!", he shouts with glee.


Mentally, I'm not where he's at.  I've been doing diapers and had a nursery for almost 11 years and I'm not quite ready for this.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My sisters aren't the only ones mastering the violin.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Here's Abby practicing for her upcoming performance at the group violin lesson.  Great job, Abbs!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Green Smoothie 1000

We just hit 1000 blends on our BlendTec (we have someone living w/ us that uses it also) and we celebrated by making one of our favorite, easy ones.
   2 large bunches of organic spinach (I grind one down and then add the 2nd since they won't both fit!)
   1 organic red pear
   1 organic kiwi 
   (both in their entirety....seeds, stems and skin!)
   a quick squeeze from a lemon
Blend and enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fast Food Experiment

Last October, a friend sent us a YouTube video of a woman in NYC who purchased a happy meal and let it sit on her coffee table for 6 months.  My kiddos immediately started begging to do their own "research."

I must admit, I was less than thrilled with the idea and tried desperately to beg them off.  Some of the things that might have escaped my mouth: "I don't want food rotting in my living room. We're going to end up with mice.  And maggots.  This is a bad idea."

Despite my objections, GLAM convinced Ron & I to pile them into the car and pick up some fast food.  They choose 2 popular fast food restaurants.  Here is the food on Day 1....a few hours after purchase.

They added all types of "real" food along the way.  One day they added a couple slices of an apple to the experiment.

A few days later they were completely rotted, molded and I threw them away.

Here we are a year later.  The most noticeably change the kids mentioned was the fry containers....."they really faded, Mom."

 Hmmmm.  No maggots?  Where's the mold?
 (actually, in the picture you can see several white spots which is dried grease. yum.)

Happy 1 year anniversary to our fast food.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Boy Likes to Jump

Its no wonder he broke his foot last year....shattering (pun very much intended) our 10 year record of no broken bones.

He jumped off this twice, asking the 2nd time that I snap the picture and then show him.
Boy Likes to Jump.