Thursday, March 31, 2011

So much to do...

So why do I find myself unmotivated? I think I am simply overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.

 I have planned out our route and chosen some things we want to see on the trip.

I have sorted through stuff and decided what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of.

I have listed things for sale on the ever popular Craigslist.

I have sold a few things.

I still have more to sell.

My husband and older children have gone to storage and sorted through the massive amounts of things we have there. We have things there that have to get sold as well and had to figure out how much had to go in the truck.

Now comes the task of packing up the things we use a whole lot. It is hard to determine what can get packed how much has to stay out until the last minute and how much we can fit in the truck.

I have to figure out seating for 4 kids, 4 dogs and 2 bunnies. I think I have it figured out but who knows! we have not tried to fit them in the car yet.

what will I do if the dogs freak out about the rabbits being in the car?

Or perhaps the rabbits are going to freak out and have a heart attack on the drive over.

How will I make sure the rabbits have water we will be on the road for 7-8 hours at a stretch.

ahhh the things running through my brain.

O and I must find my new paypal card that came before we moved in here. where in the world did i put it so it wouldnt get lost? ha ha ha.

ok that is enough rambling for today. On with the work. Wish me well folks.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ch Ch Ch Changes....

Life sure throws changes at you unexpectedly sometimes.

A few months ago we thought we were moving to Hawaii. We started getting everything ready, including the dogs. Then all of a sudden the rug got pulled from under our feet. The funding was gone. They couldn't bring us out there.

This could have been devastating. We are living with a friend and had no prospects for jobs here which was why we were going back on active duty.

Then another friend said to me that she had a place for me. A place of my own. And that we could all come live there until we got things settled. Then my Marine put in for civi jobs (a regular old job for those not in the military) and less then a week later he has a second oral interview over the phone while we travel east.

Thats right, we are moving! Far from our home land of California, almost as far away as you can get in the United States.

We are moving to Virginia!

So in the next couple of weeks blogs maybe spuratic and Starting the 8th of April I will be blogging about our journey across the United States. We are taking a Southern route and will see California, Arizona, New Mexico, the top of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and then into Virginia.

It will be a grand adventure, especially for us Unschoolers!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A little Tip

I have been homeschooling for many many many years now, but sometimes I feel as if its all still new. Like I am a novice and still don't know all the 'rules' ha ha. Being that we unschool that is pretty funny in an ironic sort of way.

So recently I thought of a way to save me hundreds of dollars a year. I am certain that I am not alone in the amount of money I spend on printer paper, and ink, not to mention the time, and energy I spend searching for, downloading and printing worksheets for my youngest two.

So what is this money saving tip you ask?

First I print one sheet instead of multiple sheets of the same thing. (I have two children in the same grade) I print them up and put them in a protective clear cover. Like these...

Then I bought some wet erase markers, this is essential because you don't want them to smudge their work, but you don't want it to be permanent either. I made sure to buy fine point markers so that the tip was sharp.

I have used plain writing practice paper inserted into a sleeve. Or math fact's practice sheets, Mazes, clock practice, the possibilities are endless. I print out one sheet of each thing and then one child can do one thing and practice. when they are done they use a spray bottle i mixed up with vinegar and water to wash the sheets off. A little piece of felt is left with the markers and spray bottle and then they get to practice over and over.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

German Chocolate Cake Frosting

I have had a few people ask about the frosting and I realized I never got around to posting the recipe.

This recipe is my husband's grandma's recipe and was lovingly shared with me from my Mom in law.

The list of ingredients isn't long but it sure makes for a fantastic frosting!

1 egg
2/3 cup evaporated milk (1 can)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Over medium heat melt butter, add sugar, milk and egg until it boils, and thickens. This takes anywhere between 5-10 minutes.

Use a whisk to stir continually until the liquid thickens and is about half the amount of liquid you started with.

Then add the Coconut and Pecans to the pan stirring with a wooden spoon.

Pour onto a warm cake to frost. This recipe will frost one 8x8 cake. You can double the recipe to have frosting for between two cakes or for a larger 9x9 round, or 11x14 sheet cake.

9x9 round only frosted on the outside

11x14 sheet cake Chocolate Beet Cake
Yesterday I posted Chocolate Beet Cake so now you can make them together and enjoy them!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chocolate Beet Cake

As promised here is the Chocolate Beet Cake recipe. This cake makes a large sheet cake. You can also make a thicker cake by using an 11x14 pan or 2 9" round pans.

Start by sifting the dry ingredients together:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 Tsp. baking soda
1/4 Tsp. salt
1 Tsp. cinnamon

drain 1 can of beets reserving the liquid and pureeing the beets.

Combine wet ingredients:
1 cup beet juice
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup oil
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
pureed beets

3 squares of unsweetened chocolate
2 oz german chocolate

Combine dry ingredients into wet mixture stirring well. Fold in melted chocolate. You will notice it going from pink to chocolate colored, that is when you are done folding.

Pour into a greased baking pan, I used an 11x14. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, in a 350* oven. 

I used my German chocolate cake frosting to frost this cake and wow is it the best cake ever!

In the inbetween

It seems that my blogging has waned a bit. It isn't from a lack of ideas or time really so much as no real clear idea on what to write. I have so many blogs I long to create that I often get over loaded with what I could do and then i never actually get there.

I am busy with plans for the future. It seems our plans are ever changing and not really solid. We have a few options and we are considering so many of them.

I am having so much fun helping my dear friend Wendy over at Journey into Wellness. I get to meet interesting people and I get to learn so much about wellness.

We are looking at relocating to a new area. I am not positive where that location is yet. It makes me exhausted to think about it all the time.

I have some fantastic tips coming up for unschooling my 6 & 7 year olds.

And tips for unschooling my teens.

As well as that wonderful Chocolate beet cake recipe with photos.

And we have a birthday coming up soon.

So much happening, so little blogs. I am going to try harder to get on and blog this stuff. Until then I hope some of you will join me at Journey Into Wellness.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Awesome find

There are days when life can just get me down. My husband is wonderful at realizing when a simple act of love can put a smile on my face. He was at the store last week and saw a bouquet of red roses that he just felt he had to get for me. They were in in a vase on a the table and I enjoy seeing them sitting there smiling up at me.

Then today I was at the local goodwill just browsing when this lovely little clay pot caught my attention. Its hand crafted. My dad plays with clay and has often told me how difficult it is to make certain shapes. So I really can appreciate this piece of work even more.

I only paid 1.99 for it. Its a sweet little piece and I could easily picture it filled with flowers.

The Red flowers are from last weeks loving gift from my husband. The white ones are from the front yard, they are growing as evidence that spring is really coming this year. There are yellow ones as well ...

The yellow daffodils came from the front yard as well. The lovely peachy pink roses were added today. My husband thought that I should have another color to balance the red, yellow, and white shades already in my lovely little pot.

I took a picture of the other side as well so that you can see that the flowers are arrange so that each side looks just a little different. I love the pot. It is simply adorable and well made even if it is slightly thick at the spout. It looks darling all dressed up with flowers!

I am glad that I could find this lovely little pot and give it a new home with a bright life.

I am grateful to my loving husband who cheers me up with beautiful flowers.

Simple things can be beautiful.

O my word... Chicken Chili Verde

One of my favorite Mexican food dishes is Chili Verde. I love the tangy flavors of the tomatillo. A few years ago I discovered that I am allergic to pork. When ever I eat pork I end up with the worst stomach aches and hives. So I stopped eating all pork. This meant no more Chili Verde for me...

Then one day the light bulb above my head went off...

Why not use Chicken Thighs!!?

So off to the grocery store I went...

Normally I do not buy canned products. I try to only purchase in season fruits and veggies, but I really wanted to try out this new recipe! So I went ahead and bought a couple of the giant cans of tomatillo's in the mexican food isle of my local grocery store.

I also bought 1 family size package of chicken thighs. You must go with dark meat on this because the breast will just dry out far to much.

in the crockpot went the chicken and the two cans of tomatillo's. I let this cook for about 4 hours then went in and pulled the chicken bones out. Then shredded up the chicken and we dished it up about a half hour later. It turned out pretty good... but being that I am a stickler for fresh when I can get it... It is currently Tomatillo season in Northern California. When I was in the grocery store the other day there was a large bin FILLED with them. I just couldnt help myself I HAD to have from scratch home made Chicken Chili Verde...

Without further ado
Here are some pictures and the recipe.

Crystals Chicken Chili Verde (fresh)
2 lbs fresh tomatillo's
2 lbs chicken thighs (remove the skin)
1 medium onion
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 cup water

dump it into the crock pot for 4 hours on high then remove chicken bones and shred chicken thighs up. allow to sit for another half hour serve with Spanish rice, black beans, cheese and tortilla's.

For those of you who have never seen a fresh tomatillo here is what they look like still in their skins

I peel the skins off and keep them in a bowl of water because they have a tacky film on them. This is what they look like floating.

They look a bit like a green tomato on the outside, but not on the inside.

The crock pot was loaded down and ready to simmer.

This is the final product after cooking for 5 hours. (I love crock pot cooking, because if I can't get to it as soon as it is done it stays good until I can get to it.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

a week of blogging silence

Means that I was sooooo busy this week that I simply did not have time to sit and post a blog about all the things we were doing!

My mom surprised me with a visit. She knows we will be leaving the state soon and will be far enough away that it isnt likely that we will get to spend a lot of time together. So she took time off work and flew home from Alabama where she is traveling for work and came to visit us. She also picked up my Aunt and my Sister came down from Washington state. We got to spend time together doing lots of fun things.

We hung out and went to the movies together... We saw Gnomeo & Juliet totally cute movie. Not as great as some of the others we have seen but certainly cute.

We had a girls day and got our hair done. Talk about a blast! Sitting in a little beauty salon gabbing for hours.

We went up to a giant antique store and spent all of 45 minutes (cuz we had lunch first and didnt realize we took so long at lunch) walking around the store.

My family ended up camping out at my house instead of going home to my moms because of the snow storm that hit the area the day before my mom flew in. The snow storm was so bad that it dumped about 2 feet of snow on the mountain and was so cold that it froze trees snapping them off all over up there and wrecking havoc on them all. knocked power out for 6 full days up there on that little mountain top. My parents have a generator but the well does not hook up to a generator so when the power goes out there is no water. This can get ugly fast with no flushing toilet.

We did take the kids up to the snow yesterday. Its been long enough that the snow lower down had melted most of the way and my parents had power again at their place. So we took the kids up a little farther into the mountains and allowed them to play where the snow was until they were soaked through. Then we loaded up the car and took them back to mom & dad's to change and eat something hot. Dad had hot cocoa ready as soon as we walked in the door and then we ate lasagna, french bread and salad. It was nice to have a warm dry spot to sit and relax.

I have pictures of some of these things but they are still on the sd card and I am just being lazy so look for them to suddenly appear on the blog soon.

Thanks for understanding my silence was filled with loads of fun and it was just to hard to squeeze in writing in between all that fun.