Monday, August 31, 2009

using up the rest of the apples

I needed to use up all those apples, left over from our big picking trip. I knew that we would make applesauce, but was really thinking about apple butter. There was a time when my youngest sister would only eat apple butter on biscuits for breakfast. She used to be the pickiest eater! I read through a few recipes online and decided that it would not be hard and that I could even just wing it.

First, you start with applesauce. To make my applesauce, I peeled, cored, cut up the apples. I added just a bit of water and some cinnamon and let them cook on the stove top for a few hours. You could cook for less time, but I was going to puree them anyway. They were so soft, that as soon as I stirred them, they mushed right into applesauce. I saved some for us to eat as applesauce.

The rest, I put in a crock pot (actually only 3/4 of what you are saving for apple butter gets added at this time). I added maybe just a little shy of 2T of sugar, a sprinkle of ground clovers. I wanted to add a shake of allspice, but couldn't find it in my disheveled spice cabinet. This cooks for 6-8 hours with the lid ajar to allow the steam to escape and the mix to cook down. Then I added the remaining applesauce and another 1 T sugar. This cooks another 3 ish hours, again with the lid ajar.

A good stir at this point gets it pretty close, but I used my immersion blender to get it the rest of the way. I stored it in a glass jar and stuck it in the fridge right next to my last container of orange marmalade.

It totally was begging to be put on a fresh flaky biscuit. I don't think I've ever written about the biscuit recipe that we enjoy most. I will have to work on that one. oh boy, we are going to have to buy more apples!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

apple stamps

Awhile back I mentioned our apple stamp napkins. In an effort to clean out my picture file of things to mention in the blog, I wanted to share the two stamping projects we did with apples a few months ago. We stamped on the corners of napkins, since we are still trying to use up cloth napkins from our large garage sale purchase. The stem and leaf were added on later by hand.

We also stamped on paper. I then chose the best one, had Bee write thank you on it, scanned it and printed out several to use as general thank you note cards.

We plan to stamp a few napkins with other fruits, a pear and an orange for sure.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

yummy stuff- peaches and donuts

The orchard we have found not only grows apples, but they grow peaches. I didn't intend to buy as many as I did. I turned my back for one minute and Lou poked his fingers into over a dozen ripe peaches. So we ended up with a bunch of peaches, all needing to be eaten right away. This situation called for a peach cobbler. I only have a peach cobbler recipe using canned peaches, so I searched online and decided to use Paula Deen's recipe. The kids always cook with me but this time I made them their own little set of directions with pcitures to help.

The peaches cooking on the stove made the whole house smell like a bath and body works store!

I don't know what happened to my picture of the finished cobbler, but it was pretty tasty. Sorry, it's not even worth posting really, except that I wanted to share the cooking directions I printed up for the kids. I am trying to make sure that I incorporate print and encourage reading as much as I can. Bee is learning letter sounds and is on the verge of recognizing and beginning to sound out words.
One another yummy note, we have discovered the The Donut Bank, a local donut shop (they have 8 locations) that is world renown for their delicious hand made donuts. We have lived in the area 10 days and have been there twice! They are really light and fluffy and just so good... good grief, I might send hubby out for some right now! When my dad was visiting, we got a big box and had a party. Everybody got to taste all of them. We all really liked the regular glazed and that spinny wheel looking one that is sorta left of middle.
We are attending church this Sunday with our neighbors and they tell us that they serve these donuts before church. If that won't get people there, I don't know what will.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bird watching

I have mentioned before that I am not a fan of birds, however, I do not want my kids to have my unnecessary fear of birds (I don't want them to get their faces pecked either- so perhaps a small level of fear is healthy!) so I try to be cool about it around them.

We have a mama mourning bird bird nesting on our porch eves. This week her babies were born. The kids have been so interested in watching her behavior and trying to sneak peaks of the babies. We also added a humming bird feeder and had our first humming bird within the hour. Bee has been pointing out every bird in the yard and asking questions about it.

Yesterday, we put together a little bird watching book so they can identify the birds they see in our yard. I need to add a ring in the corner, but I can't remember where I put them. Bee is wondering where the Herrings and Ibis are. I didn't need to include the flamingos either. We had a lovely flock of flamingos we would sometimes see at the bay.

The pages are just images I found on google and the kids glued them to card stock. I covered them in contact paper. I added a few details to the cover by stitching on some ribbon using the zig zag stitch on my sewing machine. Then I hot glued on the bow. Add some binoculars and hang them near a good bird watching spot and you are ready to go!

Here are some fun bird crafts we did a few month ago at our co-op preschool.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Welcome new readers

You can find me two other places this week on other's blogs. ABC and 123 did a great post on tea party activities and shared the tea party birthday party Bee's friend had, the Fancy Nancy Party we went to and our felt tea party snacks.

Floral Showers posted a picture of her table tent a while back. I found her through One sweet thing. I commented on her site about our table tent and she decided to share our table tent play house with her readers too.

So if you are here via Floral Showers or ABC 123, welcome! If you are new here via some other path, welcome to you too. If you are here because you are related to me... which may be most of my readers- hi and thanks for checking in with us!

Stay posted, I will be doing a giveaway in a few days... not sure what yet, but I did say I would once we were unpacked and settled. The last box was unpacked yesterday!

Unrelated photo, but, kitty does have a new name. We are calling her Chloe. She has the sweetest temperament and lets the kids carry her all over. She didn't mind being in Bee's baby sling at all! This picture almost makes me forget about the large vet bill from yesterday's trip- of course we adopted the one kitten with an upper respiratory infection and a scratched cornea (not to mention her dislike for the litter box)!

bee's new nightstand

again, not new... but newly cutened. We started with Bee's old nightstand, which used to by my sister's night stand. I like this little stand because on the back you can see when it was painted. My sister painted in a rainbow of primary colors in 1997. I painted it sage green to match the guest room in 2003, then repainted it the blue we have now in 2004 to match the baby nursery.

I slathered on some modge podge and topped it with some scrapbook paper.

The bubbles had me worried, but they fell overnight and really weren't a big deal. Also, we used it for the bottoms of the shelves so stuff sits on it anyway. Here it is in Bee's room. I really didn't spend much time arranging the items on it, she moves them around all the time anyway. She can't sleep without that ugly fan... wish we could find a more actractive one. Here's how we made that lamp.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

my new stools

They aren't new, but they look a lot newer now. Two of these old bar stools were left in our new place. I had then sitting on the curb and then pulled them back in for a little makeover.

This is fabric from IKEA. I used some Christmas ribbon I got on clearance to finish the edges. I rather like how they turned out. I had a bit of fabric left over and made a new curtain for the kid's basement playroom.

Old curtain (this is in the one in the storage room hence the block walls- it was full of spiders!).

New curtain:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

from the orchard to the table

Hubby's parents were in town for a few days to help us fix a few (of the many) things on 'the list.' We all got so many things done! I am amazed at how handy the boys are. We decided to pack up a picnic and go to the orchard for some apple picking. When we got there we discovered that the actual 'open season' is not until next weekend. The owner took pity and let us go down and have a picnic and play in the orchard anyway. We ate and picked more apples than we knew what to do with.

(We used our stamped apple napkins)

When you have that many apples, I think a pie is in order. I found a random recipe online at Joy of Baking and tried it. It was a lot of work and took hours to make, but it was delicious. We even had a little vanilla ice cream on hand to add to the top of our pie. yummy.

(My bowl overfloweth... I bought this really fun bowl from a guy at our old church (five houses ago). He travels out west every winter and collects wood. When he gets home, he spends all summer spinning them into hand turned bowls. I chose this one because of all of its character. He told me that he almost scrapped this one because of all of the 'character'. I have enjoyed it so much.)

(getting ready to go into the oven, I wanted to make sure that had a picture, just in case it burned or something. You can see our yummy dinner just came out of the oven, Stromboli sandwiches)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dinosaur Art for Lou's room

Lou wanted a dinosaur bedroom. I used to teach an awesome unit on dinosaurs so I had lots of posters, books, toys, models, etc. I thought it would be fun to incorporate these into his room. One of the cool things I had in a model of a t-rex tooth and one of a claw. I found a cool way to display them on the wall. I also used the same method to display the dinosaur fossils that we made during our dinosaur day a few months ago.

First, I dug through the box of frames that haven't found their new home yet. Then I went to the stand by, modge podge and gave the cardboard a thin layer.

I laid some fabric (an old cloth shower curtain) right on top and smoothed it out.

Then I trimmed it up and slid it into the frame. I didn't even wait for it to dry.

I think the wet spot from the modge podge should dry out fine.

I used the other old stand by, hot glue, and attached the models and two little labels.

Bee's new lamp

It's not really new, in fact, Bee has had this lamp since her baby nursery days. Bee had a moon and stars nursery and this little lamp fit right in. It really puts out the right amount of light for her to read before she goes to bed. I thought it needed a little update.

I pulled out the moon and little bear, which came out pretty easily. I looked for lampshades at two stores, but didn't find anything I liked, so I painted it. Bee's room has flowers, so I cut out fabric flowers (I ironed on some wonder under, cut, then removed the paper backing). Finally, I modge podged the fabric flowers onto the lamp shade.

I added the little wooden flower that we picked up at JoAnns. It's attached with hot glue.

Bee was waiting up for me to finish her lamp this evening, but when I went to take it to her room, she was sound asleep. I can't wait for her to see it in the morning.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Letterbox in the woods

There are so many letterboxes in our new town, which is exciting because it's a great way to learn our way around and find all the good parks and fun spots. Our first find here took us to a nature preserve not far away.

They had an amazing nature center totally geared for the kids. Bee and Lou spent an hour there and I had to drag them away when it was time.

They have 6 miles of trails. Hidden on one of them is a fun letterbox which we found in a hallow of a tree several paces off the trail.

They host a toddler program with stories, games, songs, and a craft. It was really a quality program. I have seen some average kids story times, but this was great.