Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Sunday, October 25, 2009
When anyone feels the tiniest bit of a sniffle or dry throat, we all spend a few days drinking elderberry tea. In FL, we had the greatest little herbal apothecary shop, Baileys Naturals, that sold dried herbs, teas, oils and such, including dried elderberries. The owner and herbalist was so knowledgeable about how to use the herbs and oils, and just what to take when. When we ran out of our dried elderberries recently, we went searching. (Our old shop does sell them online, but I needed them today!) We were not able to find any anywhere in town. We finally did find some elderberry syrup. As it turns out this syrup is really what I was boiling the elderberries down to, just a whole lot cleaner, easier and faster.
This syrup is fantastic! I will be getting more and picking some up for my sister who is doing student teaching stuff right now. We have been adding some to our tea each day. My kids love to have tea with me and think it's such a special treat. We sweeten our tea with a bit of honey from the co-op in our old area and some agave nectar. I am almost out of honey, but have a new local source all lined up. I have read that local honey helps with local allergies so we will happily switch sources. My friend Amanda says her parent's honey this last season is the best she has ever tasted. I can' t wait to pick mine up!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
So, here are some free (mostly free) things that we love to do in our area. (ok, now it's our old area- but I am sure there are tons of free things in every community). There may be a lot of pictures coming.....
Lowes and Home Depot offer these great clinics for kids on Saturday mornings where the kids get to build something cool from a kit and then take it home. This is a great thing for dad to take them too, but I have been taking them lately as hubby has had lots of Saturday things to do. They even give the kids aprons and patches for each project. Lou's favorite part is the tiny hammer. Lowes program is on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month and is called Build and Grow. Home Depot is on the first Saturday on each month and is called Kids Workshops.
Barnes and Noble has monthly kids programs (in addition to their weekly kids story times) where they either have a book themed party or have a character come in. Our favorites have been theFancy Nancy party and then recently, we went to the American Girls Luau party. They make crafts, play games, listen to a story, have a snack, etc. You can search for events at your local B&N here. FYI: You must register for the party events ahead of time, I always see kids getting turned away and they are pitiful looking.
The zoo sure isn't free, but they often have free nights. Ours has free rides night and since we get a season pass for Lou's birthday each year, it's kinda like it's free. Free rides night is a GOOD deal, the rides are silly expensive. The last time, we got caught in a rain storm and ended up visiting the dingos (who don't like the rain either) for about 30 minutes. Florida rain showers are quick and frequent and heavy. Luckily, the sun comes out and everything is sunny and lovely just a short time later.
Our little town has an amazing parks and rec department. They offer $1 playdough day where you can go play playdough at the rec center. They have $1 painting day, where you can just go and let the kids paint (they clean up!). One ofour favorites is the mommy and me at the gazebo. Each time they have a differnt 'host' to lead some entertainment. They have had a local Music with Mar gal come and lead the kids in songs, we've seen some kids performers, sometimes the waldorf school comes and lead the kids in rhymes and songs. Recently, the local gymnastics studio came and set up a course for the kids to run through. Good free fun.
Our parks and Rec also hosts larger events. recently, we went to snowfest. Silly FL kids didn't mind that it was really just crushed ice. There was even sledding. People waited in line for 30 minutes to go down the 'hill' once. I didn't want to wait in line, it was too hot o I promised Bee and Lou hours of sledding this winter. Lou knew what to do with the 'snow'.... throw it at his sister.
We have so many festivals and street fairs to choose from . Actually, our town has a street fair each month called Third Friday. There is a musical performance at the gazebo (that's how I found one of my favorite bands, Lucid Druid -just checking their website to link up, I see I missed a local performance on friday night, it would have been so awesome to go!), street performers, artists, lots of craft booths, homemade soap, animal rescue groups have pet adoptions, the local resturants bring out tents and serve food. It's a fun evening and we always bump into friends there. (They had a parade last month!)
Our local Clearwater threshers team has one free night a year. They also have $2 Tuesdays (and the kids are free anyway) so that's a cheap good time. $2 to park, $4 for two adults, and if you want, they have $1 cheeseburgers or $2 hotdogs. They also have $2 beers... if you hang out with those types.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
what do you think.... too much already going on- I should thin it out, is there room for me to add labels, leave it alone? I'm just not sure.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
We took them to one of our beaches. It was pretty windy and there were high waves, but we got to see surfers. Lou found a hole and got in it. We kept going over to him and saying that he should come play with us, but he would mumble, "not done yet." I don't know what he was doing...but he wasn't done.
The wind almost ate out kite! Flying a kite at the beach is so fun because it usually goes up in a few seconds and flys so well. It was so windy that the kite came down ripped up. poor kite.
Kayaking is one of my favorite local things to do and Erin and Rob were happy to go with us. The kids love it too. Lou likes to help paddle. Bee got very upset because she got a little wet. Can you imagine. I was hoping that we would see the manatee but they must have been out at the ballgame, wearing Bee's hat.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
(mama or papa)
It is not manatee season at all, but this little mama, papa, and baby have stuck around this year. We have been told that the natural underwater springs cool the water in the shallow (comparatively speaking) bay. Springs here are 72-74 degrees- ideal for manatee. When the summer heat warms the rest of the bay and gulf, most of the manatee move north for cooler water. They return in the winter when our water is the perfect temperature and the northern water is too cold. They eat seaweed from the bottom and breathe air from the top, so they stay in shallow water area. They also really like to drink freshwater, which the springs are. Our area of the bay is pretty brackish, a mix of salt and fresh water. Friends of our say that if you take jugs of fresh water out in your boat and slowly pour it into the bay, the mantee will come right up and drink your water. That's not legal at all, but now you know. There's your science lesson for the day (and a little criminal justice lesson).
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Today we found less goodies than normal, I bought an unopened kids art kit for $1.50 and a used one once acrylic art set with nice brushes and a pallet (I thought it was watercolor) for the same price. I also found three sealed boxes of 50 clear page protectors for $1 a box. These were on my shopping shopping list anyway, so I was pretty excited. We almost ended up with a little fish tank, but since the tarantula incident of 2003, I must run all new pets by my hubby first. This was reiterated by the snake incident of 2004. ooops.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Farmers Market Waffles- Belgian Pearl
2 ¼ t yeast (1 pkg)
½ warm water
1 ½ t sugar
¼ t salt
1 c butter- melted
3 c flour
Knead, rise 1 hr, divide into 14 pieces
1 c pearl sugar (or crushed sugar cubes)
roll in pearl sugar,knead each ball slightly, rise 15 min
Cook for 2-4 minutes in waffle maker
A few notes about the pearl sugar, flours choices, and waffle maker mixed in with the pictures...
Here's Bee stirring up the eggs
Lou adds the flour- I used a mix of flours, like I normally do in baking (wheat germ, whole grain flour, spelt flour, flax seed meal, and unbleached white flour). We are used to this, but they are SOOO tasty when you use all white flour without my health whole grain stuff mixed in!
Here you can see the risen dough next to the pearl sugar. You can use this pearl sugar from IKEA. I haven't found it at any local grocery stores. OR you can use crushed sugar cubes. This is the first time I have used the actual pearl sugar and think that when I have used up the pearls, I'll go back to sugar cubes. The pearls did not melt in the waffle maker like the cubes do. I also don't like how they keep their shape, it makes it look like the waffles have kosher salt all over them. Also, sugar cues are cheaper.