Thank you for stopping by! Here you will find a variety of things as I post whatever happens to be going on in our home - recipes, crafts, homeschool, birthday parties, travels, meals in muffin tins and more! I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to leave comments!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Laural is so very excited that our seeds that we planted a week ago are really starting to come up! So far, we have beans, peas, zucchini, and cucumbers visible. Our peppers and sunflowers are holding out on us. The packages said they take 10 to 14 days though, so we aren't worried yet.
Laural is calling them our plant babies.

Here's a little photo fun we were having today.

And a little ear update: She had the stitches out on Tuesday and everything is looking quite good. Still a wee bit swollen and red and tender. Still a bit of healing to do, but it is definitely better than it was last Tuesday! Here's the most recent pic:

Hard to see in this pic, but clicking it will take you to a bigger pic.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Easter

For the first part of the month, we've been enjoying the secular imagery and fun of Easter but during this holy week leading up to Easter, we have changed our focus to the real reason for Easter and this was reflected in our muffin tin meal this week. 
Top Row: Red veggie juice representing the blood of Christ, a chocolate raspberry crisp representing the body of Christ, an apple ring crown of thorns
Bottom Row: Carrot sticks to represent the nails, a tortilla cross with peanut butter, onigiri with sesame seed to represent the stone rolled away from an empty tomb

Laural ate her entire lunch and some of Micah's too. I ended up making them each another tortilla cross which Micah called a "Jesus T" which had me trying to figure out what he wanted for a minutes. Too cute. I forgot to take pics of the kids with their meals because I was munching on the leftovers.

To help bridge the changeover in our focus, our book of the day is "My Easter Basket and the true story of Easter" which takes a look through the Easter basket and connects the colorful treats in the basket to a point in the Easter story. It's a sturdy, glittery board book so both kids can enjoy looking at it.

Our Snack Time Survival Kit

I recently entered a giveaway at Molly Green's Econobusters blog and won! Yay! I love entering blog giveaways but I don't win very often. This is the 3rd time in many, many entries on many, many blogs. Our prize was the Beanstalk Express Snack Time Survival Kit and we got it today! Laural was super excited to see it (and I was too)!
It's a clock, with 3 little positionable clocks underneath it. Each little clock has a hook under it to hang a snack card on. There are 33 different snack card ideas and each day, you let the kiddos pick 3 cards they want to have as a snack that day, hang them on the hooks and set the time that they will be able to have the snack. In our case, Laural has been watching the clock like a hawk so she can tell me when it's time to have the next snack. Unfortunately, she had to watch our regular kitchen clock since the clock on the survival kit isn't working. I think we will have to send it back for a replacement.

As you can see from the above picture, our first snack was apples and peanut butter and here we have it!

Laural wanted them to look just like the picture card - on a red plate, but alas, no red plates in our house, so this was the best I could do for her. Then we had a talk about how we will not be able to make all the snacks look like the ones on the card. Micah just ended up eating the peanut butter straight out of the cup, using an apple as a spoon. Laural and I ate his apples. I wish there was some magic trick I could use to get him to eat fruits and veggies!

Laural's ear is looking pretty good today. She gets the stitches out tomorrow! She's nervous but I think she's looking forward to having them gone. As it's healing and the bruising is settling in more, we have been able to see how a bit more of the damage. While only the top part actually split, you can see the area below that was damaged underneath. She really did a number on her poor ear!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Homeschool = Learning Anywhere at Any Time

One of my favorite things about homeschooling my kids is that we can take just about any task around the house - or just about anywhere else - and turn it into a learning opportunity. Today, we learned a lot about plants and how they grow as we planted seeds in a starter tray. This simple thing that I needed to do to get ready for my garden turned into school time!

Planting cucumber seeds.

And red sunflower seeds.

We also planted peppers, beans, sugar peas and zucchini. All the rest of our seeds (corn, carrots, beets, lettuce and a few other things) will be sown outside when the weather is a little more agreeable.

While we were planting, we talked about what a seed needs to start growing into a plant. Then we talked about the life cycle of the plant (seed, sprout, adult plant, flowering, creating seeds, death), plant parts (root, stem, leaves, flower and fruit) and what plants need to continue to grow and produce fruit (sun, water, food). We also talked a little about how bees will visit the flowers to gather nectar and end up pollinating the plants. Next week, we will be starting a plants, fruits & veggies theme so this was a good kick-off for that. As we go through the various lessons, we will be able to keep track of our tray and watch our seedlings grow. We're hoping to get to Phipp's Conservatory as a field trip next week as well. I love their spring flower show!
After our hard "farm work" was done, we had to have a little snack. Since we had been talking about bees, we just had to have some local honey on some warm, buttered  homemade biscuits. Yum! Well, it was yum for me but for some reason, I haven't been able to get Laural to come around to liking the taste of honey. She ate half of her biscuit and didn't want any more.
Ear Update: It is looking quite a bit better today. The swelling has decreased and it is more of a normal color than it was. It helps that she was finally able to let me do a little better cleaning of it and get most of the dried blood cleaned from around the wound. She wanted me to take a picture of it so she could see it better - it's hard to see the inside curves of the outer ear in the mirror! So here it is.
She gets the stitches out on Tuesday. I just hope she doesn't freak out as much as she did when the ER doc was getting ready to stitch her up! She gets very anxious and upset if she thinks something is going to hurt. She gets near hysterical when we just need to take a band-aid off. Poor kid.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another One for the Books

It's time to break out Laural's baby book and add a new "first" to the list - stitches. I'll file it right beside her first chest x-ray. I'm not sure how she managed it, but she tripped in our living room and hit the side of her head on our metal, oil-filled electric heat that I had on because of the chill and dampness we had today. In the process she split her ear open across the upper cartilage. The moment I saw it, I knew it was going to require stitches. Micah was having his nap, so we had to wake him up and Steve must have heard her scream because he woke up and came running. So, off to the ER we went. Fortunately, they weren't busy at all and we went straight to a room where she was checked over. The doctor came in a few minutes later and confirmed my suspicions - she needed stitches. When they got ready to start, she started to freak out - she does not do well with medical procedures, especially when she knows a needle is involved. I had to hold on to her arms and body tightly and the nurse had to hold her head still. I think the doctor started stitching before the lidocaine had a chance to fully take effect. She ended up with 4 stitches in her ear. Poor kid. These childhood years can be rough on a kid - and on mom & dad as well.

If you are squeamish, you might want to skip the pics.
Fun stuff, huh?

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Bunny Bento

I decided to make myself a bento to go along with the kids' Muffin Tin Monday meal and I also decided to make a separate post for it so when I link up to What's For Lunch Wednesday, it isn't cluttered with all the extra stuff. I went with a bunny theme for lunch and here is what I had:
A tiny clementine with a heart cut to make for easier peeling, apple bunnies, a carrot with a broccoli top, edamame & a few snap peas, a bunny sandwich (cheese inside) with fruit leather facial features and jelly bread ears, a ham flower, and a boiled Easter egg decorated with nori & cheese.

I used the ham flower and some of the lettuce baran on the bunny bread & cheese to make for a yummy sandwich. Tucked under the bunny and out of sight are pieces of scrap bread that i used as mini sandwiches with ham & lettuce. It was a yummy lunch but a bit too big so the clementine was saved to be a tasty treat for later.

Bento Lunch
I'm linking to What's for Lunch Wednesday so click on the button to what made it's way into bento boxes  around the world this week!

Muffin Tin Monday - Bunny Time!

For this weeks special muffin tin meal, we featured our pal the Easter Bunny since his time is getting closer and closer! Here is what we had in our tin today:
Top: hard boiled Easter egg (peeled) and decorated with nori & cheese, a ham flower, apple bunnies
Bottom: a carrot for the Easter Bunny with a broccoli top with edamame & snap peas, PB&J Easter Bunny pocket sandwich with jelly bread ears and a clementine with a heart cut into it for easier peeling (plus it makes it cute!)

This was a big hit with Laural. Micah missed out because he needed his nap a little earlier today since he woke up early today. He had the same things only not as pretty when he woke up. 

I decided to have a cute lunch today too, so I packed mine in a bento. I had basically the same thing except I had just cheese on my bunny sandwich and put the ham flower and some of the lettuce baran on it for a very yummy sandwich.

Since a few people have asked, here is a quick tutorial on how to make the ham flowers.

1. Lay the slice of ham on the table/cutting surface and cut strips across the middle. Do not cut the whole way to the edge - leave about half and inch to an inch on the side edges. This can be a little tricky if you have a very uneven edge like this ham has. I just make sure to stop about half an inch before where the edge happens to be.

2. Fold the ham, matching up the long side edges.

3. Starting at the bottom open edge, roll the ham up, leaving the folded side free.

4. Secure the rolled edge if necessary. I usually just tuck it into the bento or muffin tin in a way that keeps it from unrolling. And now you have a pretty flower! You can use this technique with other meats or with egg sheets or probably other things as well.

Don't forget to check out the Muffin Tin Mom blog for more fun meals in muffin tins!
Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 9th

Today marks the 8 year anniversary of the death of my first child, my first son. We spent the day much like we've spent this day for each of the previous 7 years. It's much different, though, going to the grave site with Laural and Micah. Laural is old enough to understand what is going on now and she talks about her big brother. She says in the future, she will go and see him in heaven. I told her that I hope she means when she is old and a grandma or even a great grandma. She said that yes, that is what she meant. When Micah asked where we were going, I told him to Alexander's grave. He seemed excited and said "Ok, go to Xander's." While at the grave, he asked several times about going to Xander's. I tried to explain that we were at Xander's but, at 3 years old, it's still over his head. We placed flowers on the grave and had some cake - we always have cake - and sang a quiet version of Happy Birthday. Even though he wasn't born to earth alive, he was born into heaven and we celebrate the life he did have, short as it was. The winter has left the grave looking pretty rough, so we will go back in a couple weeks and clean it up and plant some flowers.This year, I might be able to finally get a permanent grave marker for him. I've tried over the past 8 years but it's just been something I haven't been able to bring myself to do yet. Maybe this year.

Happy Birthday, my sweet son - my Alexander. We love you. We miss you. We look forward to the day when we get to hold you again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Lamb Bento

It's been a while since I've pulled out my bento boxes but I've been itching to use them. We usually use them for picnics in the park but it's been so cold for so long, there is no way we would have been eating in the park! So even though it's cold and rainy today, I made bento just to have inside in the warmth of our kitchen rather than wait any longer for the weather to comply with my wishes.

Big dish: A lamb shaped (kind of) ham & cheese sandwich, a ham flower, cherry tomato flower with corn & pea, macaroni & cheese with cheese stars and snap peas for garnish.
Small dish: Two mushrooms made from mini sweet peppers & carrots for stem, strawberries & snap peas with a little clementine cut in half on purple lettuce.

I wasn't thrilled with how the lamb came out. I wish I had some of the cute little punches for making facial features. I've tried cutting things out of nori in the past for eyes and such but they just never turn out like I want them to. Oh well. Looks like it might be time to hit up some of my favorite ebay bento sellers again. Shh... don't tell Steve. Teehee.

I linked up to What's for Lunch Wednesday over at BentoLunch.net. Check it out for more fun bento!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Flowers

I decided to go with a flower theme for this week's muffin tin meal. We are smack dab in the middle of April showers right now so May flowers are on my mind! It's been warm here today - up to 62°F so this "heat wave" and the rain convinced me to do the flower theme. Here is what we had:

Top: Carrot tulips with snap pea leaves in a lettuce bed, Jelly bread flowers with a tiny cheese center, Ham flowers that remind me of carnations

Bottom: Strawberry & kiwi flowers, Cheese flowers with fruit leather centers, Flower crackers with a fruit leather center

Laural loved the look of the jelly bread flower.

Micah wouldn't leave this position until I took the picture. LOL

I've linked up over at Muffin Tin Mom. Go take a look.
Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com


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