Friday, September 2, 2016

Fossil Dig

A local state park, only 20 minutes from home, offers fossil dig tours where you can search for marine fossils.  As W expressed interest in paleontology we took our first field trip of the school year and spent the morning digging for fossils.

my fossil hunters

mine pit ~500 ft deep water

our finds (L-R) fossilized snails, clam, plant imprint, oysters

Monday, August 29, 2016

First Day of School

Today we started our new school year.  I was thinking on the new school year last week and I can't believe this is our FIFTH year of homeschooling.  I still feel like I've only been at this a couple years and that I'm so new to the homeschooling adventure; I would by no means consider myself a veteran or that I have all the answers.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

I adapted this recipe from Mug Meals by Dina Cheney

This is a great recipe for those with dairy allergies.  It makes a tasty, fulfilling breakfast.  The following recipe will serve 4

2 cans light coconut milk, well shaken
2 C. frozen peach chunks
2 C. quick cooking oats
2 T. maple syrup
1/2 t. kosher salt

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl.  Distribute evenly into 4 16 oz mugs or ramekins.
Cover and microwave each mug for 3 minutes or until creamy.  

*As I microwaved all servings together instead of separately, I did end up doubling the cook time.


This recipe is courtesy of Mug Meals by Dina Cheney

Pastitsio is a Greek hamburger hotdish (casserole).  I picked up Dina's book at the bookmobile and thought it would make for some simple fun suppers that the kids would enjoy.  Well, the girls didn't care for it, but they're not big hotdish fans anyways; however, William and I really enjoyed it.  And we'll see what Troy thinks after he gets it in his lunch box today ;)

I really like the simpleness of it.  So easy to make yet flavorful.  I never would have thought of adding cinnamon to a hamburger hotdish, but it gives it a nice almost Indian like flavor to it, without being sweet.  This is still very much a savory dish.  And it looks just like the photo below when done.

photo from google

This recipe is for 1 serving, I multiplied it easily for my family.

3/4 C. cooked macaroni (I used mostaccioli)
1/2 C. cooked ground beef
1/4 C. shredded mozzarella
3 T. tomato paste
2 T. chicken broth
1/8 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. kosher salt
3 grinds black pepper

Spray inside of a 16 oz mug with cooking spray
In a separate bowl mix all of the ingredients together and pour into mug
Cover and microwave until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Queen's Hat: Book Review

The Queen's Hat by Steve Antony is a delightful children's book.

We picked up this book at the bookmobile and it's such a fun story that I was led to do a blog review on it.  It's a simple, easy to read story that follows Queen Elizabeth II losing her hat and following it throughout London while on her way to see a very special someone.  The Queen is joined by her guards and her adorable little corgi on the adventure.  The author takes us through some of London's most famous landmarks on the journey and the illustrations are charming and have such fine details in them that you notice something new each time you read the story; yet it's not overwhelming to the eye for either adult or child.  At the end of the book is a detailed write up on all the historic/cultural places that are in the story.

This book is rated for Pre-K kids, yet my 6.5 and almost 8 year old really enjoyed it along with their 2.5 yr old sister.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Oh my poor neglected blog...

About a month ago, Troy bought us a family gift of an electric ice cream maker.  I wanted an ice cream maker because Cate is allergic to dairy, so commercial ice creams are out and I get tired of eating sorbet all the time.  Also, store bought coconut/soy ice cream is about $6/pint!!  We decided to go with the Cuisinart 1.5 qt ice cream/sorbet/frozen yogurt maker.  It had really good reviews and Cuisinart is a good quality brand.  Also, I wanted electric because I didn't want to concern myself with having to have rock salt on hand all the time to do the human churning.

It's working great!  I initially tried to find non-dairy ice cream recipes but most contain cashews, which Cate is allergic to as well, or specialty ingredients like xanthan gum that I don't keep on hand and don't know where to buy locally.

After a few batches made already I've found that what works best for us is to find a recipe that sounds good and then make the following substitutions...  substitute refrigerated coconut or soy milk for whole milk, and substitute full fat canned coconut milk for heavy cream.  Yes, the ice cream does have coconut flavor, but we've gotten used to it.  And both types of coconut milk are economical to purchase and readily found in our area grocery stores.

Today I made a S'mores ice cream which is a chocolate ice cream base with crushed graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, and melted (non-dairy) chocolate chips swirled in.  It turned out soooo good!!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Little Fashionistas

Fun with hats and scarves...