Storybook Costume

26 Feb

February has been Celebrate Books month.  Each Wednesday has been something special.  We have had books and bagels, where parents and grandparents were invited to school to eat bagels and read  some books with their kids.  Yesterday was my favorite, “Drop Everything and Read” and the kids got to wear their pajamas to school.  Last Wednesday took a bit more work on my part because it was- dress like your favorite storybook character day.  Yes, it kinda felt like the horrible week before Halloween all over again!

We went through their book shelves and Aleah wanted to be Amelia Bedelia and Sophie picked Madeline.  Here is some of the work:

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We could not for the life of us find a wide brimmed sun-hat for Madeline to wear but we made it work =)

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As Amelia would say, “It was plum fun!”

As Amelia would say, “That was plum fun!”

Homemade Granola Bars

23 Feb

I am trying.

I am trying to make healthy things for my family.

I am trying to make healthy things for my family to eat but it is so hard!

We go through days using all organic, non-GMO, no sugar, super healthy food, but then we fall off the band wagon and go through McDonalds. What is wrong with us?  Ugh, I hate it.  Yes, yes, don’t be hard on yourself… it is hard when you have kids and are traveling and don’t have time blah blah blah.  But seriously.  I want my family to consistently and constantly eat healthy food.  Of course we would all sweeten our birthday cakes and everything else with maple syrup instead of sugar but we aren’t all made of money, right?

Look at the ingredients of this Nature Valley granola bar, it makes me mad sometimes-

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So in an attempt to take one more step away from packaged food I decided to homemake granola bars.  Woohoo.  This is better and more handy than simply making granola because it is portable and awesome.

I found this stellar recipe that involves ONLY 5 INGREDIENTS!!!  Isn’t that amazing?  No corn syrup, no granulated sugar and my favorite- no ingredients that I cannot pronounce!

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INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet nour or medjool)*
  • 1/4 cup honey (or sub maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
  • 1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)

Head over here at Minimalist Baker for the complete instructions.

Just one small step in the right direction.

Snowpant Straps

11 Feb

We love winter.  We spend a whole lot of time outside in the white fluffy stuff and cannot have our gear holding us back from the fun.  Hudson’s cousin, Lincoln, gave him a great snowsuit when LIncoln moved to California from Wisconsin (they are currently wearing shorts out there and playing in the sand).  The one problem with this snowsuit is that the legs ride up when he sits down or rolls around on the ground throwing a fit.  So after messing around in the snow for a few minutes the pants were always riding up and his cold little calf skin would poke out =(

So I took some fleece and used the stretchy side to make a little stirrup.  It took approximately 2 minutes to sew these straps onto the bottom of his snowsuit and will make a world of difference for the rest of winter.

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We can warmly go for sled rides and even make snow tunnels without our little calves getting chilly

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and eat lots of snow because it is so delicious.

Slow Fashion Style

30 Jan

Here is a guest post from Terry, a wonderful family friend.  Terry and my mom were the ones who would go into JoAnn Fabrics and come out hours later while Tonia (her daughter and my good friend) and I would stare at the car ceiling and giggle about how lame it was that they were in this dumb store.  We have since had to eat our own words because Tonia and I love to sew and also shop for fabric.

I was hanging out with Tonia after Christmas break and she showed me a patch that Terry had sewn onto a wool shirt we had given her a few years ago (Tonia is a tiny person, so if I run across cute and tiny articles of clothing that I wish I fit in- then I give them to her).  Somehow the shirt with the patch looked better than the original.  I had no idea how this was possible.  All the patches I have ever done or seen have been trying to hide what was broken, but with this method the tear or rip is being embraced and made almost into art. Thank you Terry for this post and showing us that there are better ways to do many things.

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I’m part of the “Back to the Land” generation that way back in the 70s was exploring all kinds of lifestyle alternatives and horrifying our parents by wearing bell-bottoms and halter-tops and patched jeans – the bigger and more psychedelic the better! They say that all things old become new again. Today there is a return to an interest in local, handmade, and sustainably produced goods of kinds. For most of my life I’ve participated in that lifestyle as much as possible – gardening, buying organic foods, shopping local, etc., but somehow that ethic has been harder to put into practice when it comes to clothing. That changed for me this past fall when I enrolled in an online course called Slow Fashion Style with the artist Katrina Rodabaugh. During the three-week course about 400 people from all around the world learned together about the textile industry, its impact on the people who work in it and on the environment, and what we can do as individuals to make different choices.

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We also learned about the skills that have been practiced for generations that give us the ability to make and repair our own clothes. I loved the lesson in “visible mending,” which took me back to those hippie years but added the beauty of traditional Japanese sashiko stitching. We experimented with dyeing fabric with local plant materials, like coffee grounds and onion skins.

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Practicing these skills makes me feel connected to the generations of people who have passed them down to us, and transforms the article into clothing that is made not just of cotton or wool, but also of all the time and attention and love that I’ve stitched into them.

Since then my visits to thrift shops are even more rewarding. I hunt for cotton, linen or silk items that I can revive with a dip in a dye bath; wool articles that can be transformed into bags, pouches, mittens and scarves; and especially those pieces that were made back when clothes were meant to last longer than one fashion season and need nothing but an alteration and a good cleaning to continue to serve.

There are many resources available if you’re interested in exploring the world of Slow Clothing, starting with Katrina’s blog, and specifically this post of hers on visible mending, and the list of resources she created for her “Make Thrift Mend” project. On FaceBook like the Slow Cloth group page, and on Pinterest look for boards like “slow fashion,” “slow clothes,” or “visible mending.”

The winter months are a great opportunity to snuggle into your favorite chair with needle and thread and something to mend. Have fun making old things new again, wear your patches with pride, and SLOW DOWN!

Granola

20 Jan

There are a few things I really hate buying and want to make myself.  On that list of things to learn how to make and to make them on a regular basis:

1.  Bread

2. Laundry Soap

3. Granola

4. Bars of Soap

5. Money, kidding- just seeing if you are paying attention =)

So I started off my grand list by tackling the easiest one- granola!

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It was so easy to make, really quick and delicious too.

Here is the recipe I started with and have since changed a few things to make peanut butter, chocolate and even one with a bunch of dried fruit.

2 cups old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/3 cup pepitas

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, almonds, pepitas, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut extract.  Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir until well-coated.

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3.  Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread granola into an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes or until granola is golden brown, stirring every ten minutes. Let granola cool completely.  Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 month. (I promise you, it won’t last that long)

Enjoy!

 

Children’s Museum Fun

9 Jan

l grew up in Northern Wisconsin and around the time I was in my lower teens the NorthWoods Children’s Museum opened.  It was really fun to be involved with a few other families in making our own exhibit.  And now it is a wonderful place to take my kids to when we are visiting my mom and dad.  Here are the kids playing around an igloo made out of milk jugs!  The exhibit is also filled with little strips of white paper, which of course is the snow. unnamed-6 The kids gathered up the snow and then asked me to head up the forest tower and dump it on them. unnamed-7 unnamed-5 After dumping it on them once I knew I had to do it again with my camera, the look of pure joy on their faces is amazing! unnamed unnamed-3 unnamed-2 unnamed-1 unnamed-4

All finished off with some snow angels!

I wish Cook had a Children’s Museum, especially for these times when it is below zero for multiple weeks in a row, oh well- we will just have to visit grandma and grandpa some more.

2014 in Review

2 Jan

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 30,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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