Archive for the ‘Fun With Kids’ Category

Autumn Sweets

October 29, 2009

girl making cookies

This time of year calls for baking, and all kinds of other sweets.  In a house where we have food allergies (dairy, corn–including and especially corn syrup), and where I’ve noticed that sugar makes us sick when consumed in quantity…Well, the sweets thing can be a challenge.  Because I LOVE me some dessert!

So…I’m planning to compromise a bit.  I’ll enjoy sweets during this season, just not too many.  When I have the urge to bake, I’ll make something over the weekend (the only days I really have time for extra cooking anyway) and share it with a Sunday school class on Sunday.  My kids are welcome to candy they’re given, but just a few of their favorites.  I guess I’m a bit of a mean mommy, but I confiscate it after that, and try to emphasize fun fall activities instead.  If it’s a choice between having strung out, sick children for several weeks or having healthy happy ones, there’s no question for me.

For my allergic child, I purchase some of the (very, very few) candies available without corn syrup or dairy ingredients, and make other special treats…peanut butter balls, old fashioned fudge with coconut oil and rice milk instead of butter and milk, homemade cookies made from simple, pure, safe ingredients.  To tell you the truth, it’s kind of a nice excuse to have to whip up something yummy in the kitchen.

This time of year I especially love spicy and apple desserts.  I’ve been craving a chocolate cake too.

What do you like to make and eat during autumn?  How do you handle the overabundance of unhealthy food?

Lovely Fall

October 20, 2009

enaturejournal

Fall comes late here, but we’ve finally had a nice cool snap that tells us the season really will change, eventually.  We’ve spent most of our spare minutes outside, working in the yard, cleaning out neglected garden beds, nature journaling.  Oh, and playing fall soccer.

It’s also baking weather.  I can hardly keep myself out of the kitchen.  Too bad we don’t eat many sweets because that’s what I’ve been wanting to make.  I guess I will have to channel my impulse in a more healthful direction.

Mmmmm…this is my favorite season.  What are you all doing for fall?

(WHOOPS!  No weekend and no Monday post!  I should really quit making promises that I apparently can’t deliver.)

Making Herbal Salve

October 12, 2009

nurse

My 8 year old has always been interested in medicine (at one point she wanted to be a nurse), and lately she has become interested in herbs.  Together we put together a simple herbal salve, just for family use on minor scrapes and the like.  It was such a fun, easy project to do together.  I looked up a number of recipes online and created my own with what I had on hand.  Here’s what we used and how we did it.

¼ c. dried calendula flowers

¼ c. dried St. John’s Wort

¼ c. dried lavender buds

¼ c. dried comfrey leaf

(I ordered all these from Bulk Herb Store.)

We infused these herbs in 1 c. olive oil for about 4 hours on the oven’s lowest setting (I think it was about 170 degrees).  We did this in a glass bread pan.  Then we strained the oil through a thin cloth into a DISPOSABLE pan (because we didn’t want to get wax in a pan we wanted to use again), being careful of course—it was pretty warm!

We added about ¼ c. beeswax, chunked up.  (Next time I will use an inexpensive grater.)  Beeswax melts at a low temp, but the oil wasn’t quite warm enough to do it, so we put the whole mixture back in the warm oven for a little while.  Then we creamed the soft beeswax into the oil until it was dissolved (again, using a cheap spoon dedicated to beeswax projects only).  I could see it starting to thicken, so I quickly poured it into some small containers.  Baby food jars would be perfect, but I didn’t have any, so I used mini glad ware instead.  We let it cool completely and then put the lids on.  It smells really nice (thanks to the lavender) and is very soothing.  It makes great lip balm!

Based on what I’ve read, I understand that the herbs are effective for the following reasons:

Calendula oil keeps the skin soft, promotes healing, and minimizes scarring.

St. John’s wort is good for bruising.

Lavender is antibacterial.

Comfrey promotes rapid healing. (We made a batch without comfrey too…Herbalists have told me that you don’t want to use comfrey on deeper cuts and scrapes because it can cause the wound to heal so quickly that it traps bacteria inside).

How fun to make something so simple and useful!  I’m looking forward to trying other recipes and combinations.

Just a little disclaimer: I’m not an herbalist or any kind of doctor or medical professional, so all this is just what I understand from my own reading and isn’t intended to be medical advice of any kind.  Try any herbal remedies at your own risk after doing your own research.

Vacation at the Lake

September 21, 2009

girls nature walk

We recently spent a few days at our camp.  When I was a new mom and we first bought the camp I was tired all the time and I thought I shouldn’t have to do anything while on vacation.  Somehow it didn’t compute that the family still needed care while we were away.  Once I accepted that, it made our vacations a lot more fun!  At the camp there is still laundry, cooking (a little bit), dishes, and tidying to do, but it’s a lot less than I normally have to do at home.   I manage to sneak in lots of walks with the kids, board games, read-alouds, and a little crafting and magazine perusing.

camptrees1

campetrees2

I love the trees.  I love the quiet.

campepinecone

I love that my kids have unhurried time with nature, just to relax, observe, and be.

campladies1

I love our leisurely walks to the lake.  I don’ t think this ladies’ room near the launch has been used in a very long time.  It sure is cute for being such an…er…utilitarian structure.

campladies2

I’ve never been brave enough to check it out.

campladies4

It still has ruffled curtains at the windows.

campboats

My children agree with Ratty from The Wind in the Willows:  

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

Back With Some Randomness…

September 18, 2009

girlreadingarmchair

Check out this delicious blog…Charm City Daily.  Ami is the author of this article on modern retro housewives which made the rounds in blog land some time back.  I love what she calls herself…a retrophile.  I don’t wear heels and a starched apron on a daily basis, but I do dress for the day and try to look cute even when I’m home.  I’m an *improving* homemaker.  I want to demonstrate that my career has value!

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If you’re concerned about swine flu, you might find this post helpful.

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I have one particular child whose love language is gifts.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, but she loves to give gifts and it makes her feel treasured when others give her little things.  So recently I took a decorative box I got on clearance for pennies and turned it into our “sparrow post,” like Tasha Tudor’s family mailbox.  Today I sent the kids tiny invitations to an autumn tea with mom.  I had googled “mini envelope template” and made SIMPLE little cards out of scrapbook paper.  It only took a few minutes.  They may bring a doll or teddy bear (or in the case of my son, probably GI Joe).  Silas is looking forward to the snacks, but my little girls are so excited and they are picking out dresses to wear hours in advance.  It’s sweet how something so simple can bring so much joy!

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Autumn is my favorite, favorite time of year.  Here in the subtropics, the summers are scorching, but it’s beginning to cool off a little.  The promise of nice weather has inspired me to start working to make the yard usable.  We’ve had a lot of projects going (including filling in a damaged pool), but I’m looking forward to having a place we can enjoy outside.  This morning the breeze was cool and the sun was just right.

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My timer has gone off, so break is over and it’s back to cleaning house! Happy Friday!

Pretty Fence

August 17, 2009

des allemandes fence

We took the kids fishing Saturday.  As it turned out, the available spot to fish was on a very narrow bank right by the road.  The older kids were fine in their lawn chairs, but little Grace kept pitching herself forward toward the water.  I knew it was just a matter of time before she and her stroller fell right in…So she and I spent most of the trip across the street in a cemetery parking lot.

From there we could see this cute little place.  The house was as cute as the yard, although I’m always hesitant to photograph other peoples’ houses.  I took pictures, strolled the baby, and drew a little in my nature journal.  It was hot…very hot…but it turned out to be a pretty good trip after all.

Summer Fun Ideas Needed!

June 13, 2009

boy bike

School is out.  It’s sometimes too hot for outdoor activity.  What ideas do you give your kids when they complain that there is nothing to do?  It would be great if the ideas were things they can do at home without excessive adult supervision…We are doing lots of fun things together this summer, but I need some things they can do on their own too!