Monday, October 31, 2011

Moving again

I know it seems like I just got here to Virginia, Right?

Well the truth is that my husband has been staying 2 hours away during the week to work because his job is down in North Carolina.

So we found a lovely home to rent that will be ours for the next year, or more.
Here is a picture of the front of the house. 

We are hoping to be moved in a week so that next week my husband will be able to come home during the week again. It will take a lot of work on my part to box up our lives here during this week so that come this weekend we can get the truck and load everything up.

I may not be around to blog for just a short bit but hopefully soon afterwards I will be able to settle in and get back to sharing my world.

The new house does not have a separate dinning room, only an eat in kitchen so I am going to be building a breakfast nook. I have already found the perfect round table and I will have to build a the benches along two walls.

I am going for a look that resembles this one:
google search image from elle decor

Of course I will use entirely different fabric and make it more colorful. But the table looks a lot like this and the benches will be white. I am going to install piano hinges in the lids of the benches so that they can be used for extra storage in the kitchen. I will also have to find a few extra chairs to use for the other side of the table but I think this situation will work out perfectly for the space we have.

I will update my blog followers as soon as I can.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall on the east coast

My goodness I am in love!

The east coast sure serves up a beautiful eye catching array of colors. I wish now more then ever that my camera was fixed. I am still waiting.

The colors on the trees range from light green to deep red. I love on stormy days how the trees dance with their leaves of all colors waving in the wind. Slowly one will drop and float to the ground where its brothers and sisters are scattered all across the yard.

The children love running and tossing the lovely jewel toned leaves in the sky and pile them up. Running and jumping in them or kicking them through the yard.

I love fall for the crisp air and need of sweaters. I love cool mornings that allow for extra cuddle time. I love that cool crisp fall days mean lovely pots of soup. Soup always makes me feel good. There are so many different types of soup and I enjoy making all of them. I enjoy baking in the fall too. I like to bake bread, cakes, and cookies.

What are your favorite things about fall?

This fall and winter my goal is to learn to quilt. I have always wanted to learn and I have decided that this fall and winter I will take the plunge and learn. I always enjoy crocheting during the fall and winter and I am sure that I will continue to do so but I love learning new things.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Weekly Organic Learning report

This week so far has been a fun week.

The Spitfire has decided to learn to sew, by hand. I searched through fabric and found some cute printed fabric that someone gave me long ago. This fabric has printed candy canes with giant bows on them. You cut out the pattern and sew it together to make decorations. I think we will make a strand of these and then tie them together to make a garland. Spitfire has finished sewing one together and we are going to stuff it.

There was lots of outside learning the last two weeks. The kids are having a blast playing in the falling leaves.

Sunday was my Bookworm's birthday party and the kids all helped her clean up the fire pit area, gather and chop wood for a bon fire. They were all so excited about doing it on their own. They helped cut down dead and fallen trees and cleaned up the area to have a lovely fire.

We took a trip to the thrift store and found parts and pieces for costumes. The Bookworm is going to sew her own cape for her costume. This is the ultimate in recycling because the pattern is vintage from the 1960's from a stash my mother in law had given me years ago. The fabric is from a bolt I bought years ago that was on clearance. The bolt was 1$ a yard and there was 22 yards on it. So I bought the whole thing. I made a skirt out of it before and still have loads of fabric left so this cape is costing me nothing to make. The Spitfire is going to be a ballerina since we found a costume for a couple of bucks at the thrift store. I did have to buy her slippers but she will wear them for a while still I am sure. The Adventurer has yet to decide what he wants to be, and waffles between not wanting to dress up at all and then of course thinking maybe he will. The Cuddlebug has not come up with a solid costume yet. I told him he was running out of time. He just can't seem to think of what he should be.

I think the fall has been lovely so far. We have learned to make jam and now apple jelly. We are loving watching the leaves change on the trees around us. I personally am loving the cooler weather, it feels crisp and lovely. I am planning a few projects for the next week and hope that I can share some pictures with you all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

French Onion Soup

I had a request from a friend to post this recipe so here it is.
*sorry there are no photos, Its just so hard to get pictures taken when your camera is broken*

3 medium sized onions
8 cups beef broth
1/4 cup butter
crusty french bread
Gouda Cheese

Thinly slice the onions. I like to cut mine in half first then thinly slice each half. Melt butter in pot. Place all onions in the pot and allow to cook until translucent. This typically takes 8- 10 minutes on medium heat. Stir frequently. Once onions are translucent pour 8 cups of beef broth (I make my own as often as I can but when I run out I just use store bought low sodium beef broth.) Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. While soup simmers thinly slice crusty french bread and toast in the oven. I like to toast mine by coating both the front and back with coconut oil and laying on a baking sheet in a 350* oven for 5-10 minutes per side. Once the soup has simmered for at least 30 minutes and the bread is toasted fill *oven safe* bowls with soup, place a piece of toasted bread on top and cover with slices of gouda cheese. Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and brown around the edges. remove and serve.

Now I don't happen to have oven safe bowls so I have skipped the last step and just placed the cheese over the hot bread and soup with lovely results but for authentic soup you need to broil the cheese so it melts over the entire bowl of soup.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Roasted Root Veggie Soup

In honor of fall I am sharing my favorite fall soup. There are so many lovely roots available this time of the year. I love to make soups and stews out of them.

Butternut squash
Olive oil
veggie or chicken broth
sprig of rosemary

Peel the squash and the rutabegas. Dice all roots place in large baking dish season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Be sure to toss the veggies around to coat in the olive oil. The amount of oil I use depends on the amount of veggies, you only need enough to coat the veggies. Bake in the oven for 20 -35 minutes at 400*. If there is any oil in the bottom of the roasting pan after the veggies are done I pour this flavored oil into my dutch oven, dice up the onion and celery, then saute it until they are soft and translucent. Pour the roasted veggies into the pot with enough broth to cover 1 inch over the veggies, place rosemary on top. Simmer for 45 minutes to allow flavors to come together. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.

*I will update with pictures tonight since this is today's meal*

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekly report on Organic Learning

I am going to try hard to post each week about our Organic Learning adventures. This is not always easy for me to do since each day, and each week is a totally different adventure. We never stay in one place long and we often bounce from idea and thought to project and back again.

My kids love computer time. So I have worked hard to find great free websites they can play on and play games that encourage learning. The new favorite for The Spitfire and The Cuddlebug is a site called Go Go Kabongo. There is a free option and they love playing there. The nice thing is that it encourages reading in a fun playful way. The kids enjoy the games and that makes it more fun for them to learn.

My son The Creator is teaching himself to play guitar and I found a wonderful website that is completely free for him to use. The site is called Justinguitar and they start at the most basic level. Using Youtube videos to show you how to play.

The Bookworm is officially "Graduated" so she does not have any set type of work however she is writing several books. How she keeps them all straight in her head at once is beyond me. She loves to write and I keep wondering how long it will be before she publishes her work.

Last week we watched documentaries on Herod's tomb, we also watched episodes of Mythbusters. We love that show! There were also episodes of Quantum leap which we love.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Herman Bread

Well I promised a couple of weeks ago to come back and post about some of the things that I can make with Herman. Then my whole family got sick. When you live in a house with 4 kids and two adults this always takes a bit of time to over come. I am on the tail end of it, for a second time. Thankfully this second time was not nearly as bad as the first time I got it.

I have made several things with my Herman Starter and even shared starter with my neighbor. I can not tell you which my favorite thing to make thus far is but I do know that we all enjoy the bread. The bread can be made into cinnamon rolls or lovely free formed french bread. As the starter ages it gets more sour and not so sweet. Right now my starter is still on the sweeter side but it is turning out lovely rich tasting bread.

The recipe for the bread is simple (as far as bread from scratch goes) I don't have any pictures *yet* I hope to come and update with pictures later today since I have to bake more bread today.

1 envelope (or 2 1/4 tsp) yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 cup Herman starter
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
aprox 6 cups flour divided
1/2 tsp baking soda

in large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Add starter, salt, sugar, and 2 1/2 cups flour. Mix well until there are no lumps. I use a wire whisk for this but you could use an electric mixer if you wanted to. cover with a towel and let rise in a warm draft free place about 1 1/2 hours until the mixture has risen and is bubbly. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour with baking soda and add to the mixture. With your hands add enough flour to make a stiff dough 1/4 cup at a time. Place on a floured surface and kneed 5-7 minutes. Divide dough in 1/2 shape dough. Allow dough to rise another 30 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size. Bake in a 400* oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

I have also made lovely muffins with the Herman Starter, as well as pancakes. I have a recipe for cookies but have not attempted those just yet. I am thinking of making some Herman Doughnuts as well...

Tell me have you started your Herman yet? No? Want to? If so check out the link Here to see how to start. Then come back and tell me all about it in the comments section.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Reconsider Columbus Day

I posted a rather lengthy blog last year about Columbus and his heinous crimes. You can read it here.

I still stand behind that post and think that this man is not someone we should be celebrating.

Today I saw this video that I wanted to share. 

I would like to urge all American's to PLEASE Reconsider Columbus Day. This day is not a day to celebrate. This man was no hero. If he came here today he would be tried and convicted of many crimes against humanity.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I decided to try and make my own Jam with things I had on hand.

I had several apples and read online that I could make my own pectin with apples. So decided that I could probably make my own jam if I combined apple with some frozen fruit.

This is entirely an experiment and I have no idea if it will work or not. But I *think* it will. :) If nothing else we will have some lovely topping for some pancakes or something.

So what I have done is cut and quartered 5 medium sized apples and added 2 cups of water. I waited until those were cooked util they were soft and then I added 2 cups of frozen mixed raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. I cooked those until they were completely soft and then mashed the whole pot together. I picked the apple skins out of the pot since I did not want them in my finished product.

I then added 3 cups of sugar and a half a cup of water to the mashed fruit. I continued to cook this until it was about half its volume and was thicker then before. This took a few hours on very low heat. I did not want the fruit to scorch so I cooked it very low and stirred it often. Once it seemed thick enough I did the "freezer test" which requires you to place a small bit and place it in a bowl then put it in the freezer. If it sets up then it is done.

I placed my jam into several recycled containers I had on hand since I did not have any mason jars. The kids loved this jam and it turned out perfectly, especially since it was an experiment and I was not sure it would turn out.

Monday, October 3, 2011


One of the things that my mother in law gave me not long after my husband and I were married was a recipe for "Herman". This is one of my husbands favorite things and we have not had it in many many years. You see Herman is a yeast starter. You have to grow and feed Herman and he requires work on certain days. I am not so great at keeping Herman alive. I often tend to forget about him when he sits in the fridge. I have to mark the calendar and keep an eye on him or I forget. Herman has to be stirred constantly the first few days.. well ok not constantly but over a period of a few days. Of course because you feed Herman he grows and sometimes you have more then you need, if that is the case you can give some to friends and share the love of Herman with everyone.

Last summer when I went to my Mother in laws for the fourth of July she copied off some other recipes she found in her stash for several Herman recipes. These recipes use some Herman and then you add to it to create other foods. There is a recipe for pancakes, coffee cake, a 'white bread' that is a bit more like sourdough because of the Herman starter. There is also a recipe for cookies. I was a bit shocked by that.

Today I have started Herman. It is sitting on top of my fridge covered with a towel and growing as we speak. I am hoping that by Friday night when my husband is able to come home to have lovely dishes of Herman making set out for him to enjoy. Well ok I will likely be trying out the bread as I am baking bread constantly and honestly anything that makes it a little more accessible is always a plus. I also will have coffee cake for breakfast on Saturday when we wake up and share a meal together.

On another note I am also making some apple berry jam from scratch today and bread is rising for the day. I am feeling a tad better but still a bit loopy in moments as the crud rolls round in my head.

I am also roasting a chicken that will then get boiled and pulled apart for two meals this week. Cooking on a severe budget doesn't have to mean nothing good for the belly. I am contemplating what dishes to do with this chicken but at least the chicken is cooking and the house smells good.


Here is the recipe for the starter, as well as the directions.
2 cups flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 envelope yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast)
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm water

In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, yeast, salt then gradually stir in water. beat or whisk until smooth. Place bowl in a warm draft free place in the kitchen (mine is on top of the fridge) cover with a towel. Stir 2 -3 times a day for 3 days or until starter is bubbly and produces a yeasty aroma. After day 3 you can use part of the starter and refrigerate the remaining Herman. Herman must be stirred everyday so even when you are not using any Herman you must stir him. Be sure not to cover tightly when it is refrigerated, either cover with plastic wrap or with a lid off to the side. When you use Herman you feed it, so you use some and feed the remaining starter.

To feed Herman:
1 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
add to starter whisk or stir well.

If it will be more then 14 days before you use Herman again then you can pop the starter in the freezer and pull it out again when you want to use it.

Check back in 3 days to see what I have used my Herman for first.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Sometimes when I get sick I just want to curl up and let the world fall away from me. Unfortunately when you are a mom you often do not have that luxury. I am not sure what it is about being the mom but sleeping in doesn't happen when I am at home. Even when I am sick. I slept until 10:30 this morning and was shocked, I could not believe it was so late. When I got up I discovered the only reason I slept so late was because the kids were all still asleep.

I have a nasty head cold that seems to be spreading like wildfire to everyone I know. Most of my friends are far away from me but so many of them have this exact same cold and all of us have come down with it at relatively the same few weeks. I hope that I can get over it without it going down into my chest the way it has for so many of my friends.

Until I get better I probably wont have many blog posts. I hope you all stay healthy and don't catch this bugger of a cold. It's not fun at all.