Walk Like an Egyptian

Guess what civilization we’re studying this week?

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Yesterday I saw a most timely post on Filth Wizardry. Lindsey has a wicked cool blog (with a wicked cool name) full of wicked cool projects to do with your kids. When I saw the pharaoh masks, I knew what we were going to be doing today.

The kids had fun coloring and cutting. The project also spurred my oldest into voluntarily reading ahead in his history book during lunch, always a plus.

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When they were done playing, I displayed them in the boys’ room for a little extended appreciation. I have to say, they look pretty awesome on the wall too!

Chocolate Baking Overload

Tonight, I’m baking three dozen chocolate brownie cupcakes. Tomorrow, I will decorate all of those with an as-yet-to-be-determined frosting and then bake a chocolate fudge cake with caramel frosting. I can’t decide if this makes me brilliant or insane. Maybe both.

My oldest turns seven on Monday. Seven! We decided to throw him a “friend” birthday party this year at our local children’s museum. He has a mix of friends from his former Kindergarten class, new friends from homeschool group, neighborhood friends, and a best friend since birth. It’s all very exciting for him, but I’m discovering quite an undertaking in addition to our regular family party.

My son K, being the kid he is, had his eyes on all the quirky cupcakes in the recipe book, like pistachio, until he saw the chocolate brownie cupcakes. I think I’ve used more white flour and white sugar tonight than I have in the past year. I usually avoid both, but, I’ll make an exception for special occasions. I really want so badly for him to have a great party with all his friends. I don’t want him to be that weird kid whose mom made the beet chocolate cupcakes with avocado icing. (I have made both of those things, actually, but not together.)

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The first batch has come out of the oven and I can’t decide which is better, the batter or the warm, gooey cupcakes.

Having drastically changed my family’s diet in the past two years towards more traditional, unprocessed food, my kids are used to my kitchen “experiments”. But some special things you just don’t mess with, like chocolate birthday cake, unless you absolutely have to. That being said, no cake has to come from a box. I can make a perfectly decadent traditional chocolate cake with grass-fed golden butter, pasture raised hen’s eggs, and high quality chocolate and totally devoid of artificial colors, corn syrup, preservatives, and cheap rancid vegetable oils. I feel much better about baking my own cupcakes and cakes than anything I could make from a box or buy from the bakery. Baking from scratch is my compromise.

As I plop the batter satisfyingly into each little paper cup, I think about my son. Just yesterday he was a sweet little newborn with a silky black hair and knowing eyes. Now he’s this seemingly huge boy, with big boy legs and smelly feet and big-toothed grins. My big boy will get his (unadulterated) chocolate cupcakes and turn another year older, surrounded by love and laughter and friendship. Love you, kiddo!

It’s Log, It’s Log!

I thought you might like to see one of my current projects!

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I’m making a log pillow from recycled sweaters and crocheted embellishments. I’ve fallen in love with the whole “forest woodland” thing and saw this shop on Etsy and fell in love with the branch pillows. Normally, I try really hard to support other crafters by buying their art, but this project looked so fun I had to try it myself!

It’s coming along nicely. I have quite a bit more that I want to add, and when I do finish it, I’ll take some photos with the good camera!

Done is Better Than Perfect

I get so caught up in my head building the perfect post that I never post at all. So, I’ve become one of those bloggers. You know, the ones I despise? The ones that post about not posting? Blech.

So, in order to redress the wrongdoings, I’m going to start posting about anything that tickles my fancy, be it food, homeschooling, knitting, whatever, and I’m giving myself permission for the post to be not perfect.

Because done is better than perfect.

Mommy Deserves Nice Things

I think like many moms out there, I tend to spend more on the children than myself because, you know, it’s for the children. So, for my birthday this spring, I totally indulged on a wonderful, luxurious and completely unnecessary down pillow. As someone who has never owned a pillow nicer than Big Box’s cheapest, I am seriously in love with this pillow.

Anyway, to properly honor my newfound best friend, I felt no regular pillowcase would do. Oh no, the glory that is my pillow deserves something special.

Have you heard of Spoonflower? They custom print fabric with no minimum order, but the best part is that anyone can design a fabric and many of those designs are available to everyone, in any size. So, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of beautiful and quirky fabrics to pick from, designs you’d never find at your local sewing chain store. I’ve been looking for a good excuse to place an order ever since I discovered them.

I wanted some really luxurious raiments for my new true love, so I knew I wanted the Cotton Silk blend fabric. Because my bedroom is a painful shade of purple (a story for another day), I started my search with that color. And oh my lord, what I found!. I’ve been told chevrons are in this year. I am just impressed I found a fabric that coordinates with my, uh, unique decorating scheme. (Actually, I love all of C’est La Viv’s watercolor fabric designs and I’m looking for more excuses to place another order.)

My order was delivered quickly, and after I finished rolling in the delicious silky fabric, I quickly sewed up a new pillowcase fitting of my glorious pillow.

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Sometime, it’s the little indulgences I appreciate the most.

*I have NOT been compensated in any way for the opinions given in this post.

Eat Your Carrots

Go here.

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Find the orange blossom water.

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Make Moroccan Carrot and Juicy Orange Salad.

(Use Instagram because the IPad’s camera is…lacking and you’re too lazy to get out the DSLR and sit at the desktop.)

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Your kids will eat their carrots, I promise.

I absolutely adore Global Table Adventure. I satisfy my culinary wanderlust regularly via Sasha Martin’s “stovetop travel”!

Little House in the Big Woods

Once upon a time, twenty five or so years ago, my auntie gave me my very first chapter book.

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Curling up on the old brown couch down in the cool lower level of my air conditioned 1980′s ranch-style house, I soon became absolutely lost in the life of little Laura Ingalls Wilder, who lived not so far from me, but removed by roughly a century, in 1867.

Throughout my childhood, I probably read through the entire series at least four times, so I am absolutely thrilled to begin reading LHitBW with my sons now. I remember being fascinated with with the food that Laura and her family worked so hard to grow or hunt, prepare and store for the winter. So far, that is what has caught my 5 year old’s attention too.

He is particularly interested in the beginning description of the deer smoking in the little smokehouse. So, being the ever adventurous mother and not having any hunters in the family, I tracked down a local game store. <ahref="Czimer’s

Czimer’s was a treat unto itself, as they had lots of interesting animal skulls and pelts to teach the kids about (alligator skulls, bear skins, etc…). I was able to purchase a pound of ground venison and a packet of hickory jerky cure.

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Today, my eldest is feeling under the weather, so I prepped the marinade on my own. I was going to use the cure, but discovered it’s full of msg (should have checked that at the store, but I think I was too busy explaining to my youngest that the antlers mounted to the wall did not, in fact, belong to dinosaurs).

So, after a quick consultation with Google (seriously, what did we do before Google?), I magicked up my own marinade from liquid hickory smoke, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and a multitude of various and sundry spices.

Our “smoked” venison turned out just fine in the dehydrator, and I see plenty of projects related to our future literary adventures with Laura!

Welcome To Our RV!

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We call her by a rather masculine moniker, Irve, short for Lord Irving Greyhawk The First. (Irve=RV, get it? Yeah, we’re so clever and hip, I know).

Worms: Part Deaux.

We’ve got worms!

First, a little music to set the mood. Go to Amazon: Dog On Fleas, Worms I’m a big fan of Kindie music (indie, folk and rock aimed at kids). I’m going to do a post soon on this, because no parent should have to suffer through The Wiggles.

Our box-o-worms finally came in the mail! It’s amazing what one can order from Amazon. My kids got busy cutting newspaper into long strips. I think Boy Wonder found this activity to be deeply satisfying. He cut strips for an hour, long after we had enough.

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(Sorry, I can’t figure out how to flip it. My HTML skills are still in the n00b stage.)

Side note: a two year old can and should use scissors. Look for scissors with a spring arm to pop them back open after each cut. Then let your little one loose on as much newspaper he or she can handle and get it out of their system. It’s great for motor skills.

Anyway, I digress. After cutting, I soaked the strips in water, wrung them out and lovingly created a little worm paradise inside the previously drilled box. I tucked in some carrot peels for their first meal and dumped in the worms.

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Before we covered them to let them do their thing, I got my kiddos to pick up some worms. Much hilarity ensued. YouTube Video of the Wormy Cuteness I couldn’t tell if my little guy was going to cry or laugh.

I think our worms are going to be a fun ongoing science project this summer! I’ll keep you updated.

Oatmeal Date Bread, The Update.

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I made a loaf of the of the oatmeal date bread from the bucket of dough I mixed last night. I was so eager to tear into it hot and fresh from the oven with my coffee that I didn’t wait at all for it to cool. Lesson learned.

Zoe Francois, coauthor of “Healthy Bread in 5″ lent me this very helpful tweet. “If the bread sticks to the pan, let it sit for about 10-15 min, steams out and should slide out.”. Learn from my mistakes, friends.

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