December 28, 2012

Sledding in French Park

The old wooden sled with metal runners actually works very well, we used it a lot, but it's only good for one person at a time, so I took pictures and a movie when they were on the biggest sled, the black "Pelican Mega Snow Glider."
 Such a pretty landscape...I love snow on the tree branches.

December 26, 2012

A little snow here! ♥

Olivia and Hannah went outside to enjoy the bit of snow here.  Olivia ran a fever yesterday of 101'F and kept saying she was cold, although she was wrapped up in 1 wool and 1 thick synthetic blanket on the couch.  She seems to be better so far today.
We've had an issue with cold sores with her that started last year.  No one else in our family has them, so it's a learning experience...any suggestions?  We've got Abreva and Zovirax.  We have tried to make some dietary changes, less sweets (like chocolate).  I just made a list and posted it on our refrigerator:

Lysine-rich foods (to eat):
  • dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • eggs
  • chicken
  • fish
  • lamb
  • beef
Arginine-rick foods (to avoid):
  • nuts (peanut butter, cashews, almonds, etc.)
  • seeds
  • grains
  • oats
  • whole wheat and white wheat (I had been giving her crackers)
I think my Indian food cooking has been too spicy lately, and caused this flare-up. 

Hannah got an egg from the chicken coop this morning.  She is wearing the pretty pink coat from her cousins and purple hat from Grammie & Peepaw!  The little yellow flower on her hat was made by my mom's mom, Hannah's great grandma, who passed away before she was born. 
If you have snow where you live...I hope you will have fun playing with this gift from God!

December 17, 2012

Jungle Jim's

Jungle Jim's is an international market near can buy caviar ($25.99-$41.99) and serve it on Swedish rye crackers ($7.49)...sounds SO good together, but a bit expensive!
 For dessert, maybe try some green bean popsicles:
And what a selection of hookahs!  We seriously had so much fun there.  I can't wait to go back.  I bought a big bag of coriander seed for just $2.29 and lots of coconut milk (just $1 for a 13.5 oz. can).  I bought a friend a nice Wusthof knife (made in Germany), all of her knives were quite dull the last time I helped her chop in the kitchen.  I got a Ritter dark chocolate marzipan bar for Dad.
Quite a cultural experience!

December 14, 2012

Butter cookies

My husband ordered this cookie cutter for me.  It's made in Germany.  And it's awesome, you can personalize your cookies with a message or someone's name on it. 
Butter cookies (this is the recipe my mom always used, about half the sugar that the average sugar cookies recipe calls for, and super scrumptious):

1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3 teaspoons vanilla extract (or lemon or almond)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Blend butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together well.  Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the butter mixture.  Chill for about an hour.  Roll it out to about 1/4" thick and then cut and bake at 425'F for about 5 minutes.  Allow to cool.  And then you can ice them!  Enjoy ♥
P.S. Reading "Wheat Belly" is really eye-opening, but it's going to be very hard to change.  I love baking with wheat flour.

December 12, 2012

Yarn along: little Christmas gifts

I've made some big shawls...but now I'm crocheting little matching shawls for their dolls, for Christmas gifts.  Join in the "Yarn along" here!
I picked up "Wheat Belly" at the library and "The World We Found," at the library today.

I just finished reading "A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry.  What an interesting book!  Many horrible things that happened in India in the 1970s make me appreciate our life.  There were parts that were wonderful...the main characters, Dina, Ishvar, Narayan, and Maneck cooking together, laughing, like a family.  ♥

It made me want to try Indian recipes.  Yesterday I made parippu (a lentil curry with coconut milk), and ate it with homemade pita (I will try making chapati soon, basically the same, one is baked in the oven, the other cooked on the stove top)...and today I made chana masala (chickpeas, ginger, garlic, onions, etc.) and we ate it with rice and potatoes & carrots.  My girls would like me to serve food on banana leaves, as they do in India.  So many wonderful vegan Indian recipes!

Last year, I read "Life of Pi."  Now, it's been made into a movie.  Another story of people from India, who are out at sea, on their way to Canada, when their ship sinks...what happens as Pi struggles out at sea?

December 7, 2012

Homemade #3: Animal bread

Artisan Bread (you can make a nice loaf, or a bunch of little animals):

3 cups lukewarm water
1 ½ tbsp granulated yeast
½ tbsp salt
6 ½ cups unbleached white flour
  1. Add yeast and to water in a large bowl.
  2. Mix salt and flour together well, and add to yeast mixture. If mixing becomes too difficult, put on floured counter and knead.
  3. Cover with towel and let bread rise for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
  4. Gently stretch and knead dough, adding flour as-needed to keep it from sticking to your hands. Form dough into rough ball or little animal shapes.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 350°, placing baking stone on middle rack and a small, shallow pan (for water) on another rack. Leave enough room between racks for bread to rise.  Bake for about 30 minutes (keep checking, as small pieces will burn).
  6. Remove bread from oven and let rest on wire rack for at least 20 minutes.
Olivia adjusting the tail on her mouse.  And below the girls end results, Hannah's cat came out nicely.  I made a big simple loaf of artisan bread with the rest.

December 6, 2012

Homemade #2: Paper snowflakes

It has snowed here in Ohio already.  But it wasn't enough.  I am hoping for more very soon!  We made paper snowflakes.  The thinner the paper, the easier it is to cut through the layers of thick folded paper.  We used:
  • coffee filters
  • scissors
I fold the paper in half first, then in thirds, as I drew on the coffee filter, so you can see, that was you get a more realistic 6-pointed snowflake when you're done.
We taped them to the glass window, which will be easy to clean off if any of the sticky tape residue sticks.  We actually ran out of regular tape a month ago and have only been using washi tape.  I ♥ washi tape!
*here's a washi tape giveaway!!!

December 5, 2012

Homemade #1: Oranges and cloves

Everyday we are baking or making something special.  It's nice to see what everyone else is doing, to get inspiration for fun things we can do together, on Pinterest (which is mostly just links to crafty things on blogs)...and I'm on a budget. 
Homemade gifts and decorations and food ♥  You can do these with your children.  In my experience, I have found that open-ended activities are much more interesting, allow for creativity and learning!  I am not one who likes or encourages worksheets or colouring books.  Give a young child a blank sketchbook, instead, and what you'll see and hear will be wonderful stories full of imagination!!!
 To make this pomander, you'll need:
  • oranges
  • whole cloves
Simply push the pointy end of the clove into the orange!  The end result is a pretty and fragrant orange you can put on your mantel, as we did, or tie with a string or ribbon and hang it up, or place them on a dish or bowl in the center of your dining room table for a centerpiece.

December 3, 2012

Sewing with scraps...

Little ornaments I sewed using fabric scraps!  
Check out this giveaway to get this beautiful quarter-yard fabric bundle to sew your own:
I was inspired by this:
P.S. We got 2 eggs over the weekend....nothing from Cinnamon, yet (she'll lay the blue-green), one I'm pretty sure is from Nutmeg and the other a first egg from Pepper, as there is a little blood on it.  Poor dear.  I hope next time is easier for her.  ♥

November 30, 2012

Cranberries and popcorn

We got out 3 needles and thread and strung popcorn and cranberries.  They were the leftovers...I baked the vegan cranberry bread (link to recipe in my previous post), which was really scrumptious!!!
 Olivia hung hers as a garland outside on the tree by our front window.
 And we gave the chickens the leftover popcorn.
Their nests...where we find eggs...just one brown egg a day now.  Hoping to see 2 brown and one greenish-blue soon!
 Behind the ladder under the deck...a favorite spot for dust "bathing."
And the cranberry & popcorn garland Hannah made is swooping on the right side of the light and mine on the can see Velvet the cat looking out the window!  ♥ 

November 28, 2012

Yarn along...

Today is the first day of the Nativity fast for us, as Orthodox Christians, who follow the old calendar.  Last year, we started a countdown and opened up a package with a (used) book each day, so my girls really looked forward to the fasting period.  We try to live simpler, eating no meat, or dairy and less television (not that we watch it much anyhow) so that we can pray more and think about the time before Christ's birth!
I'm crocheting another shawl right now for my niece, well actually just adding fringe right now.  I am reading "Everyday Saints" by Archimandrite Tikhon.  ♥
I have mushrooms and onions that I'll chop up and cook with olive oil and then serve with angel hair pasta.  We have a good supply of organic gala apples, for snack.
And I plan to bake this later today, as I have a bag of fresh cranberries in the refrigerator.

November 21, 2012


We sipped this three ginger tea, made in the UK (the English do tea the best, in my opinion) by Pukka.  My sister, her husband and 3 month old baby, Elizabeth, are now here visiting and brought me this box of tea, which I cannot find in any stores in this area.  We also had a slice of pumpkin bread.  Brekkie is Australian slang for breakfast.  ♥  It's a term we use often in our home.  "What's for brekkie?"

Pumpkin bread (this is a delicious and vegan):

2 cups pumpkin pulp (bake half pumpkin, scrape flesh from skin, then puree)
2 cups sugar
1 cup coconut oil ($5.99 for a 16 oz. jar of organic virgin coconut oil at Trader Joe's)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur's)
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Mix wet ingredients in large bowl, then dry ingredients in smaller bowl, then pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the large bowl and mix thoroughly. Makes 12 muffins and 4 small loaves (I use the Pampered Chef mini-loaf stoneware) for me... Bake at 350 for 15-25 minutes (muffins are done quicker).
 After lunch, enjoying a pomegranate together....and then little Elizabeth fell asleep in Hannah's arms.
Very nice weather here...sunny and 60s.  We went swimming yesterday, indoors.  My little niece only dipped her feet in.  Olivia & Hannah puffed up their swimsuits with air. 
Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans, tomorrow!  This mouse family (by Maggie Rudy) is enjoying a roasted walnut. ♥

November 19, 2012

A morning walk with Peepaw and Grammie ♥

As many of you know, my father has had Parkinson's disease for almost 10 years now.  He uses a walker most of the time and often can't even use that, afternoons and evenings are very difficult.
We found a bunch of pretty yellow ginkgo leaves.  Thank God, mornings are good for him...and we enjoyed the beautiful weather God gave us today!