Sunday, December 29, 2013

my favorite crafts of the year!

getting to be the end of the year and thought i'd do a quick compilation of my favorite crafts we did this year!
this blog, after all, is first and foremost a journal for me :)

love my new nook. just went shopping around the house and made it all work! my opinion, of course :)

the painted popcorn cans turned toy bins for the boys.

this whole party!

painted rock dominoes for daddy, from mv and jack jack!

felt tea sets for all the darling little girls in our life

autumn chandelier!
new curtains, sewn from an urban outfitters tapestry

growth chart for the boys!

our new advent bags!
i guess next year is actually getting around to ironing them...

dino hoodie for mv

of course! the magic milk paint!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Remember the Reason for the season!

mv and i did advent crafts and this was a series we did every sunday :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

need ideas for Christmas dinner?

now that my husband is home from 3 (long) weeks in the field, we'll be taking a break from here until the new year!
hope everyone has a great holiday!

if you need some last minute idea for Christmas dinner, see below.
i'll fill you in later about what we had this year!
(hopefully, this will be part of it!  *fingers crossed*)


here for these:
herb stuffed turkey breasts
roasted garlic mashed red potatoes
grilled asparagus
avocado grapefruit salad
dark chocolate cake with homemade marshamallows

here for these:
crown roast with fennel apple stuffing and cider bourbon gravy
macaroni and cheese
roasted broccoli
black bottomed lemon cheesecake

here for these:
(valentine's day menu, but would be perfect for a small Christmas for two!)
lobsters with butter
roasted asparagus
new york cheesecake with red berry coulis

here for these:
(probably my favorite, total menu...and yes, it's Easter, but would be ideal for Christmas!)
roasted leg of lamb
scalloped potatoes
roasted brussels sprouts with thyme and red pear
hot cross buns
coconut cake

Saturday, December 14, 2013

the perfect pie crust.

no joke.
it's perfect.
i discovered it this past summer and have just now getting to blog about it.
i use it constantly.
for (fake) empanadas, for turnovers, for pot pies, for apple pies.
or for tiny nutella pies for yourself.

Perfect Pie Crust
Makes enough for 2 crusts.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold
6-8 tablespoons ice water

Blend flour, sugar, salt and diced butter in a food processor for 6-8 second pulses, until crumbly.
With machine running, add ice water through the spout until barely sticking together.
Dump out on an un-floured surface and smooth with the palm of your hand a couple times to get it to form up.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out on a floured surface and prepare according to your recipe.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

while Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, Christmas is my favorite season :)
this is a small peek around our house and we prepare for His birthday.

we collect ornaments as souvenirs from all the places we go so it's fun to add the new places every year.
this year, we added philadelphia, niagara falls, canada, ecuador, and vermont! 

my "rustic chic" wreath.  still don't know if i'm feeling it.  but, too late in the season to change now!

my mom found this antique advent calender and mv loves to open the little doors every morning!

up-cycled cinderella pumpkins ;)

canvas advent bags for nightly verses of the nativity story.

have i ever mentioned how i hate hanging lights? i do.
this was the best i could do.

lighting the second Advent candle on Sunday

and, we accidentally left our stockings at my parents' house last year so they are being ups-ed to us post haste!
alas, my favorite part of Christmas and no picture :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

baked french toast with praline topping

quick recipe here.
nothing tricky or difficult.
perfect do-ahead for the holiday season.
so easy, in fact, that i quick, whipped one up and forgot to take good pictures with my good camera.
great recipe, bad pictures.
happy holidays!

Baked French Toast with Praline Topping
adapted from Paula Deen.
Makes one, 9x13".
*start the night before!*
1 loaf French bread, 13 to 16 ounces (I used the equivalent leftover homemade bread)
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. Arrange slices in a buttered 9x13" flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and whisk until blended. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk and egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350*.
Spread praline topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping
2 sticks butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

homeschooling wrap up: november

homeschooling wrap up for november!
we had fun.

G is for Grass!

G is also for Graham crackers and Grapes, dipped in Greek yogurt.

Green Eggs and Ham!

G is for Goldfish!

aaaaand Garbanzo beans and Green beans.
okay, done with G.

for the beginning of the month, we continued our culture series with a New Zealand/Austalia unit!
complete with Great Barrier Reef and sharks and a sheepskin rug and sheep!

probably my favorite part of the nz/australia unit...a special visitor (on his morning off) came to visit mv as a Maori warrior! 

oh yes.
complete with traditional haka.  i.e. dancing around and stomping.
mv joined in.
i got it on video but the warrior won't let me post that bit.

we read books on nz/australia...

...and painted in the traditional, Aboriginal way!
its a fish.

and, last but not least, crafted a pine cone kiwi bird!

on to H!
H is for Hay, for our textile letter of the week.

and Honey, Hazelnut spread, and Hummus...

and an uber gross Hot dog lunch.
but, it made Him Happy.
(okay, sorry)

when i was in ecuador, mv's grandmother helped him do some fun, Thanksgiving crafts!

they turned out so well!

I is for (pretend) Ice...

and Indian beads (continuing our Thanksgiving unit)...

and Ice cream!

oh, and Insect.

birdseed feeders...
and super creepy science experiment with Indian corn.
but totally came out awesome (yet still creepy) and was really instructive on how plants grow!
he daily got to see and measure the new growth!

J is for Jellybeans.
first, sorting (naturally)...

and using the rest for a tiny j
and prompting eating them all :)

and lastly, J is for Junebug!

our letters of the week are coming along so nicely as a border for the schoolroom!
and textile letters of the week on the blank wall, beside my elliptical!
somehow, i haven't taken pictures of our math lessons or cutting practice or any of our felt Bible stories and songs this month. but he is learning so much and we are having so much fun!
can't wait for next month!

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