Playdough! Purple, grape-scented Playdough even…

Lizzie has been begging for playdough for several days. Today, since I have a to-do list a mile long, I took 15 minutes and made a batch for her.  (Fellow parents: stop buying the junk from the store–this recipe is SO much better! [I didn’t even modify it, which is quite a feat for me.])

It doesn’t start out very pretty–kind of sticky and glumpy.  But after adding the boiling water and kneading it for a few minutes, it starts to look better and smell fantastic!











Then, here comes the fun part: watching your kids play!!











When Mama gets into the game, it bring everything up (or down!) to a new level (Lizzie says it’s missing armpits):



Caroline’s Poem

My children’s school invites students to submit creative work to a yearly collection of talent, including writing, music and art.

Caroline’s submission this year was a poem, which shows some people may be a little more right-brained than others:


Vegetables are very yummy.

Vegetables are very good.

I like broccoli because they’re like trees.

Carrots are such a pretty orange.

Corn is the golden color of queens.

Peppers are spicy and sweet

(But don’t eat super spicy ones!)

Lettuce and spinach are like crunchy leaves.

Beans are so bumpy; they tickle my tongue.

Cucumbers are long and skinny.

Zucchini is what I don’t like the most.

And artichoke: yuck!

God makes all these vegetables, so we can grow plump and happy!

Into Every Project a Little (ha!) Mess Must Fall

My girls had a playdate this week with another girl from school.  I try to find crafts for times like these that don’t require a lot of policing or helping from me.  This time, I thought I found the perfect activity.  Easy, breezy, right?

I should have never even blinked, much less walked away:


   The finished project, though, is pretty darn cute.  Worth the mess?  Yeah, I think so…this time…

St. Patrick’s Day (not really Reading or Crafting…only a little Cooking)

We started out the day right with a green Puffed Pancake (or Dutch Babies or Oven-Baked Pancake…take your pick!):

Recipe: I adapted this from a fun little cookbook titled 5 Ingredient Recipes.
1 c flour
1 c milk
1/4 c sugar
6 eggs
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
liberal shake of cinnamon
Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. 

This is MUCH easier than standing at the stove flipping pancakes for 6 people!

Then we headed to a local 4-mile race for Daddy (7th overall out of about 600 runners; 1st in his age group!):


Finally, we burned off some energy JUMPING:

Books in the Morning (or Why We’re Late to School)

Makes my mother/teacher heart proud:



Making Bread…A True Craft

I started studying the ingredient list for a loaf of bread: emulsifiers, fillers, conditioners, etc.  Here is a breakdown of some of the ick.

Since I have the time and talent, I decided to start making bread for my family.  We go through quite a bit in a week; the girls take PBJs to school at least 3 days a week.  Through some trial and error (more error, of course!), I have settled on a double batch of Amish Bread with a few modifications (which will be detailed soon) made on Tuesdays. I make one large loaf and two small ones.

The girls like the small ones for their sandwiches…and the best part is they eat the crusts on this bread!  Less waste!!

While I know feeding my family better food is the main reason I make bread, I must admit it just feels good.  I love the zingy smell of proofing yeast, the little puffs of flour dust while I’m mixing, the heft of a just-kneaded ball of dough.

Sometimes I cheat and use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook attachment, but generally, I knead the old-fashioned way with lots of elbow grease and a big mess.

Here’s the best reason, though, to make bread:

Crafting a Garden, part 1

Last year, my front lawn was awful…brown, weedy, rough.  My flowers, though, were magnificent!Front of my home

I would direct people to my house by mentioning the lack of lawn and the profusion of roses and scarlet runner beans.

This year, I wanted to get a head start on my vines, so I gathered up the surprisingly beautiful bean seeds from last year’s plants.  Bob and the girls planted them in biodegradable pots…and we waited…and waited…and waited.

The excitement when they sprouted was infectious!  The girls measured the spindly stems, counted leaves and bragged on their green thumbs.  In truth, I’m rather astonished the seedlings managed to survive the loving.

Bob hooked up a grow light in the basement, and the girls (so far) are faithfully watering their pots.  I think it helps I found the cutest watering pot ever.  And, moms, please notice the little hole in the top makes for much less spilling!!So, here, after several weeks, are the scarlet runner bean plants.  Not too shabby for my school-girl gardeners!!

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