Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

I distinctly remember last Christmas Eve; thinking, praying and waiting for this new baby girl that would soon join our family.  Something was missing.  She was missing.

And all I have thought about today is how blessed, how very blessed we are to have her with us.  She is so meant to be here.  What a blessing and a joy.  Truly, the best Christmas ever.

Merry Christmas to all 6 of my blessings.  Thanks for making my dreams come true.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end...."   Isaiah 9:6-7

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy 3 year Anniversary Fast "Food" ??!!

Snapped this picture tonight of our fast "food" project from October 2010.  For more on that story, click here.

Or for the 2012 picture, click here.

Yes, I still have this "food."  My kids have begged me to keep it as long as possible so its tucked high away in one of our cupboards for the annual anniversary photo.  OMWord.

Monday, November 11, 2013

No Bake Chocolate Granola Chia Cookies

I'm always looking for a gluten-free, sugar-free way to curb my sweet tooth.  This one is amazing and super easy to make!  I meshed several recipes together and here's what I came up with:

1 c. organic nut butter (we usually use almond but I splurged on pb -- highly recommend!)
2/3 c. raw honey (thank you to my bees! :))
1/4 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. raw cacao powder
1/3 c. coconut oil
1 T. vanilla
1/4 t. real salt
3 c. organic granola (you could use oatmeal but I used our granola and it was superb)

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl.  Add the chia seeds, cacao and salt mix well.  Stir the granola in and mix evenly.  Chill in fridge for an hour or so and then roll into balls.  Chill until serving. Bwhahahahahaha.  They won't last long enough to chill....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Continents and Oceans

This kid could teach me a thing or two.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Meal Planning 101

Several weekends ago, the girls had a (rather brilliant!) idea to plan out all of our meals so we'd be prepared for our busy week.  We all sat down and I let them have quite a bit of input into what we'd each for each of the 21 meals.  Then, I shopped on Saturday and purchased most of what I would need for the big items.  I still need to make a trip every over other day for juicing and green smoothies but I was able to get most of the bigger items.  On Sunday we made some of the staple items for the week.....a large batch of granola, pumpkin muffins, get the idea.

I compared our meal planner to our calendar so I was sure to have an easy breakfast or packable lunch on days we would be out the door early or on-the-go during lunch time.

The whole thing was a huge hit!  The kiddos loved knowing what was "coming up next"  -- not because I wing some of our meals, nope! Not me! -- and I loved being organized and having a plan.

Needless to say we sat down this past weekend and did the same thing.  Nothing sweeter than a repeater.  I meant the idea, not the meals. ;)

Madeline was even kind enough to make a spreadsheet for me and type up our plan.  

It's probably the least complicated meal planner out there......which is my favorite part!  I need simple, easy to make meals that are, as my kiddos say:  "Delicious! Nutritious! And organic!" (this is an old family chant from a book we read years ago :))

I'm off to prepare my already-planned-out-and-purchased dinner for tonight!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Easy Tomato Soup

I've tried several tomato soups this summer and never really loved any of them.  Since I have a plethora of tomatoes from our CSA, I decided to try just one more tonight.  This one is heavenly and my kids couldn't stop eating it = home run.

Here's what I did:  (and yes, I'm going to 1/2 my recipe for you ;))

Approx. 3 lbs of organic tomatoes (I used a variety of heirlooms and vine)
Core the tomatoes and cut in half.  Add 5 cloves garlic, peeled and 1 large onion, sliced and throw it all on a baking tray.  Generously drizzle with a good, cold-pressed, organic olive oil.  Season with real salt and pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes in oven.

Transfer this to a large stock pot and add 1 quart of organic chicken stock (I used my homemade from our last chicken) and a dollop of grass-fed butter.  Why butter?  Because everything is better with butter.  Bring to a boil.  Then, simmer for about 20 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.

Side note on immersion blender:  BUY ONE.  They are awesome.  I was at The Seasoned Farmhouse when Tricia Wheeler mentioned my need for one.  I've never regretted it.

Back to my soup.  I added about a cup of raw cream from the top of our milk jug at the end.  
And of course you could garnish.  I didn't have time.  My gaggle was standing at the soup pot, spoons in hand.  And I had already fed them dinner.  

(I am so pathetically lazy and not willing to take the time to download my beautiful photo.  Thank you internet stock photo.)

Saturn Has Rings

Lincoln did a presentation for us today during our school time.  "Saturn has rings.  The rings are made of dust....but they look like they're solid."  Nice job, Linc!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Raw Sun-Dried Tomato and Herb Crackers

This is one of my favorite raw cracker recipes from one of my favorite raw chefs, Matthew Kenney.  They are truly delicious by themselves or dipped into your favorite hummus or guac.

5 c. raw walnuts, soaked at least 1 hour
5 c. diced zucchini
1 large handful sun-dried tomatoes, soaked at least 1 hour
1 handful organic herb....I usually use parsley
4 green onions, chopped
3/4 c. organic flax seed, ground (I use coffee grinder and it grinds to 1 c.)
1/2 c. hemp seeds
1/3 c. fresh squeezed organic lemon juice
1/3 c. nutritional yeast
1/4 c. + filtered water (more than 1/4 but less than 1/2)
1 T. real salt

I grind all the "wet" ingredients (including zucchini) in the BlendTec and then transfer to a bowl and add in dry ingredients.  Matthew uses a food processor because he's all professional and I'm all in-a-hurry-with-no-time-to-spare.

Divide the batter between 4 dehydrator trays (use the Teflex liner!) and dehydrate for 12 hours or so at 105.  I take a knife and cut the crackers and then flip the tray and peel away the Teflex liner after about 6 hours.

A note on dehydrating:

I bought the Excalibur dehydrator almost 2 years ago and loooooooove it.  I mean love.  Almost as much as my BlendTec.  Or my Bosch.  Or my mill.  Or my Hurom juicer.  I have an obsession with kitchen appliances.  It was a slow start at first and I used it mainly for soaking and drying raw nuts.  Which honestly, if you study the nutrition on that alone you will want to buy one.  Now, its almost always going with something delicious....raw granola, raw granola bars, nuts, crackers, banana bread, you name it!

If you don't have a dehydrator, preheat your oven to the lowest setting (mine is 200) and when it heats up, turn it off and turn your oven light on.  That should do the trick.  I use this to make my raw yogurt and it comes out perfect.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gluten Free Oatmeal Banana Muffins

These muffins are fantastic.  I whipped up a double batch as a healthy snack for our homeschool co-op days.  I haven't already eaten six.

2 1/2 c. gluten free, organic oats
2 organic overripe bananas
1 c. raw, organic yogurt
2 organic, farm fresh eggs
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
2 T. ground flax seed
1 t. organic vanilla
1 t. real salt

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly coat muffin pan with coconut oil.  Grind oats in the BlendTec to make oat flour.  Toss that with all remaining ingredients into the mixer and then spoon into muffin pan.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Simple Banana Pancakes

2 eggs + 1 banana = pancakes in 5 minutes!  

Smash the appropriate bananas, add eggs and mix together well.  Coat griddle with coconut oil and whip these up in a few minutes!   Many times I will make a plethora and hide them in the very back of the fridge save them for another breakfast.

This is one of our favorites and we've played around with it quite a bit.  You can add other fruit, add some vanilla, cinnamon, all kinds of things.  My kids love it when I drizzle some pure maple syrup on top but honestly, they are sweet on their own.

Enjoy this delicious breakfast as well as less time in the kitchen!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

8 months already.

Happy 8 months Kendie!  God, I love her so much.

In case you are reading this one day, Bunny (we all call you "Bunny")
You still wake up once during the night for a bottle (so spoiled ;))
You cut your 1st tooth this week
You are crawling on all 4's (army crawled at 7 mos)
You are PULLING UP! (earliest baby to do that!)

You are the happiest, most content baby ever, ever, ever.  It is a joy and a pleasure to spend each day with you.  I really have no words for the honor I feel to have been blessed with the opportunity to be your mommy.  My forever thankfulness to your birth mom, Nikki, who also loves you so much.
I will always love her.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BlendTec Salsa

It's tomato season and we have a plethora of tomatoes from our CSA.  Not that I'm complaining!  We slice them up, sprinkle on some real salt, and eat them for lunch they are so ripe and delicious.  But even with that.....did I mention we have a plethora?

So I threw a bunch of them in the BlendTec this week and made salsa.  Super easy and took about 5 minutes, no joke.  Here's what I did:

4 large organic tomatoes
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and ribs removed
1/2 organic onion
large handful organic cilantro (I threw in some parsley also b/c I had a ton!)
1 organic lemon, squeeze all juice in to blender
real salt and peper to taste

Throw all of the above into the BlendTec and lightly pulse until desired texture.  Pour into mason jars and refrigerate.


UPDATE 10/7/13:

I made this again today (did I mention how many CSA tomatoes we have!?) and I tweaked the recipe a bit....added a bit of cumin and a pinch of coconut crystals.  And a few cloves of garlic -- how did I miss that last time!?  I didn't do lemon this time but next time I'll add some fresh lime juice, just because.

Also, I wanted chunky salsa so I drained out some of the liquid into my crock pot of chicken tortilla soup that's sitting here simmering....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Madeline's 1st Day of School

First day of 7th grade

  The other kiddos don't start until after Labor Day but CC's Challenge program starts this morning!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mammoth Cave National Park

We took an RV trip with Mark/Cara and the girls this past weekend.  Cara took all the incredible pictures so I will have to post later but the trip was amazing.

Friday, we leisurely made our way down to KY, stopping at Lincoln's birthplace and his boyhood home.  It was amazing to walk the same fields that he spent so much time using to grow food.  The kiddos loved wading in the creek that his boyhood friend, Austin Gollaher, pulled him from when he was nearly drowning.

We actually camped in Dog Creek park which was near Mammoth Cave.  The campground was perfect, right on the Nolin River with incredible views and a great beach for the kids to swim.

Saturday we hiked the caves and did an outdoor hike as well.  The weather could not have been more beautiful.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was watching the kids hone in on their fire making skills.  With the appropriate supervision, we let the girls completely build and tend to their own fire on Friday night.  It burned until morning!  On Saturday night it was the boys' turn and Gabe listened carefully as Mr. Mark and Daddy explained the importance of a teepee set up for the kindling.  Here's a picture of Gabe and Lincoln's fire which they built and lit on their own!  (thanks to the men for keeping it going until late into the night.)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Raw Chocolate Almond Butter Balls

Fancy title, eh?  I see things like this in recipe books and online and decided to create a "raw" version.  And then I came up with a fabulous name for them.
I'm sure there is a much better version out there but honestly, these aren't too shabby.

1 c. organic oats, soaked several hours (not too much water!)
1/2 c. raw almond butter
2/3 c. shredded coconut
1/4 c. flax seed, grind it (that will be almost 1/2 c. once you grind)
1/3 c. raw honey (I used honey from my own bees!)
1/2 c. raw cocoa powder
1 t. vanilla

Stir this all together and then roll into balls.  Chill and enjoy.  Or just eat a couple spoonfuls as you are making it.  Either way, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Raw Chocolate Ice Cream

Dump the following in the BlendTec:

1 cup raw milk (don't shake the milk jar so you get the good cream too! :))
3/4 c. raw cocoa powder
1/4 c. organic hot chocolate mix*

Hit Pulse a couple times and then add:

1 t. vanilla
3 cups ice cubes

Select the Ice Cream cycle.

If you like it soft serve, eat it right away.  If not, freeze it for several hours.  I ate it soft serve last night and frozen for breakfast  today.

*this is not raw but every recipe I looked at called for sugar so I decided to add a tad bit of this.  It was delicious!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sir Cumference

Reading aloud is one of the greatest things you can do for your kids.  I didn't make that up, my mom told me.  And she knows everything.  Truth be told, my parents read to us all the time growing up and I do the same for my kids.  We just finished a biography on Corrie Ten Boom and my kiddos were literally begging me each day to continue reading!

I was reading this book to my boys this morning and it reminded me what a huge fan I am of the series. Set in the times of King Arthur you get to know Sir Cumference, his wife, Lady Di of Ameter and their son Radius.

Each book focuses on a different math concept and is certain to inspire your young mathematician!  Plus, it keeps them sitting still for a few minutes.  ;)

(thanks Amazon for letting me borrow your picture.  I was too lazy to take my own!)

Monday, June 24, 2013

7th Annual Sun Party!

When I was growing up, my mom's best friend Connie used to throw a "sun party" to celebrate the end of the school year.  I adopted the tradition when Madeline started school and my kiddos look forward to it each year.

We always ice sugar cookies with yellow (sun!) icing and drink lemonade.  This year we spent the afternoon swimming and lunching at TCC.

Welcome Summer '13.  We have been waiting for you forever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


This picture is frightening.  Especially given the fact that he was almost in tears after I served him a glass of freshly squeezed carrot juice at breakfast instead of his normal green smoothie.  He insisted on having some of "Mommy's."

Monday, June 17, 2013

He's Not Even 4!

Funny story.  I saw the KaZAM balance bike on Shark Tank last week and since Lincoln has been begging me to teach him to ride without his training wheels, I ordered it.  It had nothing to do with the fact that Amazon's 1-click shopping makes it so easy.

It came (exactly 1 day later!) and he's been spinning around the house on it.  This afternoon, I hear Lauren giving him tips on how to ride a "real" bike and next thing you know we are outside and he's racing around the cul-de-sac like he's competing in Tour de France.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Green Smoothie a Day.....

I recently had someone ask if we were still doing green smoothies..."because you never post them on your blog!"

The answer is: Yes. Every single day.  No. Matter. What.
Even when we are traveling, we pack the BlendTec up along with the toothpaste (flouride-free of course! ;)) and hit the road!

This morning, we used our CSA greens which were picked fresh yesterday morning.  Does it get any better?!

Here's what we threw in this morning:

purified water
1 organic lemon, with the peel cut off
handful of organic raspberries
large handful of kale
tons of tons of mixed greens (I mean, TONS!)

We grind it down several times and continue adding more greens until it looks perfect.  I drink the jar you see above (a quart) in the morning and then 8 oz before lunch and dinner.  The kids drink about 12 oz a day and Ron is all over the map, drinking anywhere from 12 oz. to 60+ per day, depending on how crazy he's feeling.  Or better yet, how gooooooood he wants to feel!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Raw Food Week

Madeline, Lauren and I are on 7 days of raw foods.  Why 7 days?  Who knows?  And why are only 3 of the 8 of us participating?  Who knows?  Actually, I do know that, the 3 of us volunteered. :)
Our family is well over 50% raw and I am probably closer to 75-85% but we thought it might be fun to go 100% raw, well, just to see how it felt.

We are on Day 4 and it's been fantastic.  I've also made 4 trips to the need a loooooot of fresh fruits and veggies.  And we planned well ahead by having a plethora of raw nuts and seeds on hand, soaked and dehydrated.

So far we've made dehydrated veggie burgers, cashew granola, flax and herb crackers, oat groat cereal (tastes just like grape nuts!) fudge (yes, fudge!) and much more!  All 100% raw!

This afternoon, Madeline made a raw cocoa and banana shake for a quick snack.  Yum.  There is no way you could possibly miss cooked, processed food after drinking a glass of this delicious goodness!

Inspired by the recipe book shown (one of our favs!), this is what she did:

1 frozen banana
1 cup of raw milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. raw organic cocoa powder
pinch real salt

(the recipe called for stevia or raw honey but she didn't think it needed it)

Add the above to the BlendTec and blend until smooth and creamy.  Simple!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Phrase of the Day

My sister and I were talking this morning about how annoying it is that they always pass out processed, GMO, refined sugar junk snacks at soccer.  For example, today's snack was a (full!) donut and a G2 Gatorade.....these kids are FOUR.

I'm sorry, that should be illegal.

Lauren's assessment of it all:  "Some sugar every day makes the doctor come and stay!"

I might just have to coin that.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spelt Bread in the Bosch

I love my Bosch.  I mean, looooooove.  I use it for bread, cookies, cakes, making pasta and a million other things.  Today, I experimented with spelt, hoping for a homemade bread that was low in gluten.

Here's my recipe - (keep in mind I make 6 loaves so adjust accordingly :))

Mill 14 cups of grains (I did 10 cups of spelt and 4 cups of red wheat berries)
6 cups purified, warm water (I use alkaline)
Overflowing 1/2 cup of organic, raw honey
Overflowing 1/2 cup of organic, unrefined olive oil (sometimes I use coconut oil but fyi, the rise is harder to achieve)
2 T. salt
3 1/2 T. SAF yeast

Dump it all in the Bosch (I add yeast last) and mix on speed 1 for a couple minutes and speed 2 for 8 minutes.

Kneed the bread a bit (doesn't take much after the Bosch) and put in greased pans.  Cover and let rise for 30 min and quickly kneed again.  Let rise for 30-40 until rise is double.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 min.

I wasn't sure if I would achieve the same rise so I added some wheat berries.  Next batch I will do all spelt.  The bread is delicious.

Thank you Pleasant Hill Grain for the photo.  I love their website and products!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Black Bean Brownies

I played around with a couple recipes and came up with this one.  Delish!  Whipping up the 2nd batch in less than a week right now!

3/4 c. cooked, organic black beans
1/2 c. organic, unrefined coconut oil
2 organic, farm fresh eggs
1/4 c. cocoa powder (I was out and used organic hot cocoa mix.  Mmmmm. Good substitute.)
2/3 c. coconut crystals
1 t. instant coffee
1/2 c. organic chocolate chips, divided
1/3 c. raw almond flour (I ground about 1/2 c. raw, soaked and dehydrated almonds)
1/2 t. aluminum free baking powder
1/2 t. real salt

Blend the beans and coc oil in the BlendTec.  Add eggs, cocoa, coc crystals and vanilla.  Melt 1/2 of the choc chips and blend until smooth.  In seperate bowl, wisk almond flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to blender and pulse.  Dump in remaining choc chips and pulse again.

Spoon into greased 9x9 and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Outer edges will be cooked a little more than the middle.

Enjoy this guilt-free treat!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Also a Math Club

This is not a typical day of homeschooling.  Ok, it is.
They've been up there for several hours though so I'm assuming it's a productive one.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Kendall is 12 weeks today.  Thought I would celebrate by posting a picture of her at 1 week old.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pure Dedication

Came downstairs to this scene and couldn't resist capturing it on camera.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Creative Thinking

The boys brought me up to their room last week to share their brilliant idea with me.  They had decided to tape all their clothes and jammies (and undies!) to the wall for easier access.

Who can be bothered with opening dresser drawers?

I will admit, my instant reaction was to be annoyed.  Ugh, I just spent like $6 on that tape at Target!  (yes, they used about 4 roles.....scotch tape is not all that adhesive when clothing is involved.)  However, that still small voice spoke quickly to me, "Does it really matter?"

Choose your battles.

PS - there are only 2 pieces of clothing left this morning.  Phew.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy 12th Birthday Maddie Bear!

You've definitely got that one thing.  
You are completely amazing.  I can't begin to express how blessed I am to be your mom.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Screen Time

This is screen time I can live with.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Girl's Day Out

When Madeline was in 1st grade we watched the American Girl Samantha movie.  At one point Samantha plays Bach's Prelude in C.  We knew little about music at that time but I was impressed.  I said to her, "If you can ever play that piece on the piano, I will take you out to do something super fun!"  She had just started taking lessons and wasn't even taking them every week.

Well, wouldn't you know she just passed it in her Faber Book 4 this past week and so we went out to celebrate.  Her first request was to bring her sisters along (although in the end Kendall voted to stay home and sleep ;)) and she wanted to shop and lunch.

What fun memories we made and we captured a few on the iTouch.

That is definitely not us eating Girl Scout cookies in the aisles of Joann Fabrics.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ski Day!

Thanks to my amazing cousin, Brit for taking the girls to their homeschool ski trip.
(Lauren's 2nd trip this week!)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

They were taking pictures at our homeschool Valentine's Day party today.
(Kendall, we only got 1 shot - so sorry!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fine Arts

Lincoln's interpretation of Fra Angelico's work with gold leafing.

Friday, January 25, 2013


We welcomed Kendall Eden into our family through the miracle of adoption on her birthday, 1/18/13 at 9:23 p.m.  5 lbs. 10 oz. 18 in.

A miraculous story that only God could have weaved together.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Almond Cookies

I borrowed Detoxinista's recipe for this little goodie and you can find it here.   Don't let my picture fool you (hers was much more appetizing), these little gems are delish.

I made my own almond flour by throwing 2 cups of raw, organic (and not radiated - thanks Green Smoothie Girl!) into the BlendTec and followed the rest of the recipe as is.  When I make them again, I think I will do a cream cheese frosting.  Just sayin'.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Victory Garden

We are talking about Victory Gardens, circa WWI, and ran across this advertisement today. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

The kiddos had a birthday surprise for me this afternoon and juiced carrots, celery, parsley and raspberries.  Even better, the juicer was washed, dried and put away.