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(Not at all) Spooky (but rather very) Cute Halloween Bat Craft

6 Oct

We’ll be making these awesome bats this week! How fun!

Homeschool Gameschool

I’m always looking for inexpensive ways to deck the halls for the holidays. Today’s craft is courtesy of my mother, she brought over a bunch of paper towel tubes that we were supposed to use for a castle 😉

batpin

To make these cute little bats you’ll need:

bat1

cardboard tubes (tp size or paper towel tubes cut into halves or thirds)
poster paint
construction paper
googly eyes
white glue

First you want to paint the tubes the desired color.

While the paint is drying draw the outline of bat wings onto construction paper, we printed a template out from the internet, there are tons out there!

Cut the wings out and decorate as desired.

When the paint is dry attach the wings to the back of the bat with white glue.

Glue on some googly eyes and you’re done! Cuteness overload!

bat3

TIP: If you do like things on the spookier side…

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Crazy

19 May

Since 8pm I have done the following…

Made muffins. Two types. Chocolate-zucchini and apple-carrot.

Made 1lb of bacon. I ate two pieces and the rest is currently just hanging out on my stove. It will be lovely for BLTs tomorrow. Or cheeseburgers. Or…eating.

Did 2 loads of laundry. I might do more. Might.

Made tomorrow’s lunch for the child AND the husband.

Prepped veggie snacks for the week….sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks, orange wedges…all in individual containers for us to grab and munch. HEALTHY SNACKS!

And I’m currently debating making some gingerbread.

Someone stop me.

8 months and counting

15 Apr

We’re almost in the home stretch! Only 4 more weeks until I’m full-term and this chicklet can come any day. Its terrifying and exciting. Nesting has taken the form of squirrel-mode. Its like I’m hoarding food for the winter.

It doesn’t help that my new-favorite produce market has had ridiculously amazing deals. Last week I managed to snag nearly 50lbs of tomatoes, 18lbs of grapes, 20lbs apples for $22. Pickling cukes were cheap and as were other odds and ends, so naturally I got out my canning supplies!

5 quarts of marinara sauce (plus 3 half-quarts in freezer tubs)

3 quarts apple sauce (with some extra in the fridge)

6 pints salsa

5 pints dill pickles

Grapes will be frozen and made into jelly later today.

Oh yeah. Revel in that bounty. I’m feeling super lazy today, but I’m determined to finish it off. Considering baking a ton of breads and rolls this week for the freezer. I refuse to resort to questionable store-bought stuff after the baby pops out. Must maintain healthy and homemade! I realize that does sound ambitious, but at least I can do what I can. Obviously its not the worst thing if we have to buy some things at the store, but I have this ridiculous need to stock our pantry and freezer as much as possible.

Lets be real though. My big fear is having the husband go grocery shopping. Its bad enough he might have to do some of the cooking. I just want to make my life as easy as possible post-partum 😉

Strawberry Season!

26 Mar

Florida is amazing for strawberries, but just oranges. Last month we picked up a flat of strawberries for $15…which promptly became jam. Mama Jam to be precise 🙂

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Look at those beauties. All sliced up and ready for some lovin’!

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Then, we mash! Good way to take out all your frustration…get it nice and smooth…

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TADA! Now we let it cook down with some pectin to make it pretty and clear. Scoop of any foamy bits and you get this:

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Ladle it into sterilized mason jars and use a water bath to seal them

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Or just eat it!

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Yum yum yum. Not going to lie, we use this on everything. Sandwiches, bread, crackers, pretzels, pancakes. I had to explain to the kiddo that he couldn’t just take a spoon and eat it straight from the jar.

The recipe I used is from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook:

Ingredients

2 qt fresh strawberries

1  1 3/4 package of powdered pectin

1/2 tsp butter or margarine

7c sugar

Directions

1.Crush 1 cup of berries in an 8-quart pot. Continue adding berries and crushing until you have 5 cups crushed berries. Stir in pectin and margarine. Heat on high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Add sugar all at once. Return to boiling; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam.

2.Ladle at once into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner 5 minutes. Remove jars; cool.

Non-baby stuff

26 Mar

Ok so for some reason, caring about the food you eat means you’re some crazy hippy health nut. Not really. I’m a big fat fatty that loves food…I would just prefer to not eat random chemicals that have no nutritional value. That and *gasp* I actually like cooking and doing home-maker type stuff. I know, I know. Psycho stuff, right?

We garden. We compost. We buy local as much as possible. I’ve cut back our processed food consumption by…well…a lot. I serve homemade meals instead. I’ve even taken the extra step and have learned how to can. I’ve been using a water bath to seal my jars, but in hopes of preserving more of our home harvest (and taking advantage of farmer’s market deals), hubby ordered me a pressure canner today and I’M SO EXCITED. That’s what gets me all worked up, folks.

And you know, nothing feels quite as awesome as your kindergartener bragging to his classmates that he has a “mama jam” sandwich on homemade bread. The other kids were in awe…they didn’t even know you could make that. He puffed up his chest and told him that his mommy can and does. Oh yes. We have mama jam, mama sauce, mama bread, etc. He has tried to throw away store bought when he realizes that I’ve made some instead. That right there makes me feel like super woman.

Speaking of the kiddo…he was a picky kid. Operative word being was. Like most kids, he would turn his nose up at anything green or fell under the guise of vegetable. Now that he has been able to see his food grow from a seed, I think he has more appreciation for it. I’m still coping with the fact that he happily asks how many handfuls of spinach he can have or sings songs about having squash for dinner…while still eating breakfast.

I think I might need to start posting some of those things because really, it isn’t that hard. Find a good recipe or reliable instructions and you’re good to go. Its not really crazy time consuming, which is the most common complaint. “Oh, I wish I had time”. Its really not that bad. I made a batch of pickles tonight and it took a whopping 15 minutes. Minimal effort is the name of the game, folks. It is so worth it when you have a pantry and freezer full of tasty, chemical free foods for your family.

Baking Adventure

26 Jul

I love love love (did I say love?) baking. However, Germany has made it extremely difficult. First problem is that I don’t have an oven in the apartment. We do have access to the house kitchen that DOES have an oven, but it is a pain in the butt to have to carry down all the ingredients…

Speaking of ingredients, that is the second problem. My first weeks here I wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies. Then I realized…German stores don’t sell chocolate chips. Or brown sugar. Or vanilla extract. Or baking powder/soda. I did make the cookies with some substitutions…a bar of chocolate chopped up instead of chips. I found something very close to American brown sugar at the Asian grocery store (that’s right folks, my brown sugar super exotic and from Thailand), instead of vanilla extract I used a common German item…vanilla sugar. Baking soda equivalent is KaiserNatron. Baking powder’s (not very good) equivalent is Back Pulver. They turned out decent…the texture was only a tiny bit off. And that was with me using not-quite-exact measurements; our measurements don’t always come out so nice when converted to metric.

So, with this experience under my belt, I decided to brave the kitchen once more with my handy metric converter and a mind for substitutions. I was lucky enough to find a brownie recipe that did NOT use cocoa powder (can’t find that in any of my local stores), but I was able to find vanilla aroma. It is kind of like extract…only an oil and MUCH more potent, so you only need a few drops.

Thank you Food Network! I doubled the recipe, skipped the nuts, added some milk chocolate to the batter, and sprinkled in a packet of instant espresso. Absolutely AMAZING. Waiting for them to cool was torture.

I’ve also got some dough in the fridge for Nutella Pinwheels. I found an amazing food blog called The Purple Foodie. What could go wrong? Buttery shortbread and gooey Nutella? Yes please. I’ll post pictures if they come out as pretty as hers!