Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blue Toes

I always let the kids give input on what color I should get my toes painted when I get a pedicure.
Linus won out this time.
Since, as Linus would say,
"Blue's my favorite."
His reaction upon seeing my toes peeking out of my sheets and blankets this morning was totally worth it.  
And the pedicure?  
The BEST I've ever gotten.  
Robert Andrew is soooooo worth it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Homemade Summer: Peanut Butter "Surprise" Balls

So Homemade Summer has meant the end of store-bought snacks, for the most part.  As we have run out of things (animal crackers, graham crackers, pretzels, fruit snacks, etc.)  I haven't replaced them on my next shopping trip.  Rather, I've been on the lookout for wholesome, yummy snacks that I can make at home.  The one featured in this post has probably been the most successful, in that everyone likes them, they are fairly healthy, very portable, and relatively easy to make.  This recipe doesn't even use an oven which means children can easily help and the house stays cooler in these hot summer months.  I can tell you that I've made most of my forays into homemade-ness once or twice.  However, I can't tell you how many times I've made this recipe!  That's how many times I've made it!  I do know that the last three times have been double batches.  And that lasts about a week. 
All that being said, let me introduce you to Peanut Butter "Surprise" Balls!

Here's a peek at a bowl full o' ingredients. 

And the "SURPRISE!" ingredient.

And an action shot of me making them late one night.

And the finished product!
I've adapted this one from a recipe for Honey Milk Balls in, you've guessed it:  the More-With-Less Cookbook!

Peanut Butter "Surprise" Balls
 adapted from recipe for Honey Milk Balls in the More-With-Less Cookbook

Combine in a bowl:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use organic and natural)
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
3/4 cup toasted wheat germ
chocolate chips

Mix well, then knead by hand until blended.  Shape into small balls formed around a single, "surprise" chocolate chip.

So obviously, the chocolate chips aren't a surprise anymore.  However, they were the first time!  You could mix it up and use craisins, raisins, peanuts, etc.  Something different every time!  Or a mixture of "surprises" in each batch.  
My kids LOVE these!  Even Violet-if-it's-not-made-in-a-factory-I-don't-like-it-and-I-won't-even-try-it-Ella.  Yeah, Homemade Summer hasn't been Violet's favorite.  But she likes Peanut Butter Balls!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Homemade Summer: Granola

Super simple.
Suuuuuper yummy.
Not too sweet.
Great on yogurt or with milk poured over it.  Just fine on its own for a quick snack.

Simple Granola
from the More-With-Less Cookbook

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Combine in a large mixing bowl:
2 c. whole wheat flour
6 c. rolled oats
1 c. coconut
1 c. wheat germ(I used toasted, since that's what we have on hand.)

Blend together in a separate bowl:
1/2 c. water
1 c. oil
1 c. honey or corn syrup
2 t. vanilla
1 T. salt ( I used a little less, since it seemed like a lot.)

Add blended liquids to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Spread out on 2 greased cookie sheets and bake 1 hour,stirring every 15 minutes or so, until dry and golden.  Store in covered container.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Little Puddin' Pop

Sore throats make it ok to have pudding pops for breakfast.  
Bill Cosby would be so proud.
I was thankful for an opportunity to capture some of my little big guy's best expressions.
This is the "What are those girls doing?" face.

A genuine smile.


This is the "silly voice" face.


My sweet boy.

I can hardly believe he'll be THREE in just over a month!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Homemade Summer: Corn Chips

A couple of weeks ago,  I made these for the first time.  I get many of my homemade ideas from the internet, however the other place I regularly use is our More-with-Less Cookbook.  It's got LOADS of ideas for not-what-you-normally-think-of as homemade:  crackers, cream-of soups, ketchup, whipped topping, fruit gelatin, salad dressings, and much more.  Last week, I made some corn chips to go with our dinner of confetti rice squares. 

I LOVE how the evening sun enhanced the colors in these photos!

Here's the recipe:
Corn Chips
from the More-With-Less Cookbook

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 c. yellow cornmeal
2/3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
2 T. dry milk solids (I always used powdered milk for this ingredient, which I assume is the same thing.)

Stir together in a separate bowl:
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. oil
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 t. Tobasco sauce (I didn't have this so I didn't use it.) 

Add liquids to dry mixture and stir with fork.  Knead a little until smooth.  Grease two cookie sheets and sprinkle each with cornmeal.  Divide dough in half.  Roll out each half directly onto cookie sheet with floured rolling pin, rolling dime-thin.  Sprinkle lightly with paprika, garlic, onion, or seasoned salt.  Run rolling pin over once more.  Prick with fork.  Cut in squares or triangle.  Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. 

I chose to use paprika, so they would look pretty.  And while they were very attractive, the flavor was too much for my kids, who didn't care for this first batch.  In the future, I'll opt to use something else.  But there will be a next time!  These are a great accompaniment with a meal and a great snack--if there are any leftovers!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pudding Fun

Duncan loooooves pudding.
I don't.  
It's become a joke because nearly every time we go to the grocery store together, he manages to put some boxes of pudding in the cart. 
Since making instant pudding is so easy, I've done it more than a few times in recent months.  
One time, I even got all creative and fun.  
Notice the different hair textures?  
That would be personalized puddings.
Since it's homemade summer around here, and we used up the last boxes of pudding to make frozen pudding pops during last week's Festival of Fevers and Sore Throats, I'll be attempting homemade pudding really soon.  
And chocolate-peanut butter.
Maybe I'll just learn to love pudding yet!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Good Morning!

Gotta love the off-centered-first-thing-in-the-morning-unshowered photography sessions.
And the not-cleaned-up messes from many-days-before that are behind us.
I've got two things to say 'bout all that:
Welcome to my world!
 I LOVE it here!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Violet's Dramatic Flair

This is another one of those long videos of one of my children.  Please feel free to skip it unless you desire to see Violet "in a moment."  She is often in her own world, using whatever props she finds nearby to create it.  Unfortunately, I picked up the camera in the middle of this cute story that she was sharing.  The back story is that she was going to "do a play" with Daddy.  She's sharing the storyline in this video.  I especially love her use of the phrase "truelove."  I know I'm partial, but she is just so. stinkin'. cute!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Last Load of Diapers. Ever.

Since it's been eight days since Linus has been out of diapers, I think it's safe to make this announcement:
After nearly six and a half years of cloth diapers, the Saladas can claim to be

Here's the diaper pail waiting by the washer for the last time.  This is our second diaper pail.  The first succumbed to mildew because of some former methods we used.

When we started, we had a different washer.  Our current washer allows us to customize and save cycles.  Duncan made one for diapers.  Now that we won't be using it anymore, I wonder if we'll think of something else to customize?

Sure we still use one disposable diaper each night for Linus and will until the current pack is gone.  Then we'll go cold turkey and see how it goes.  He's had a few accidents and doesn't initiate much, but seems to have great control.  He even naps without a diaper!  I'm sure we'll have some set-backs, but we're very encouraged by Linus' progress!

Last week I kept having to pinch myself.

Duncan says that all of this talk about being DONE with diapers is sure to produce another Salada baby.  
I'm pretty sure babies aren't produced by talking.
Guess we'll all just have to wait and see...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Homemade Summer: Pretzels

We've made them twice and while they are a fine snack, they aren't my favorite.  We'll keep tweaking it.  Here's the recipe I've used--the "hard pretzel" version.

And here are some fun pictures from the first time we made them--back when Amelie had her two front teeth and much more hair than she currently does.

If you give them a try, let me know how they turn out!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Things I Never Imagined Letting My Children Do...

Back when I was a perfect parent (ya know, BEFORE I had children), I NEVER would have let my children do this.

Can you tell what they are doing?

How about now?
If you guessed:
Take off all eleven cushions from our sectional couch, add in various blankets and throw pillows to create a diving board pool so that they can jump off the coffee table (jump off the coffee table!?!?!) and "splash" into it, you are correct!

I am sooooo the craziest coolest mom ever!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Lesson in Contentment

So my mid-Atlantic friends, do you remember this?
Remember how SICK of the snow we all were come the end of February?
Well, here we are, full of complaints (myself included) about how H-O-T it is!  Let us sit back and remember how tired of all of the layers upon layers of clothing we had to put on (and put on our children) just to walk to the car.  Let us remember the back-breaking shoveling we did for hours on end, just to have to do it again in a few days, when the snow was dumped on us again

And let us revel in the moment, whether it be a cold moment or a hot one.  Let us appreciate with whom and where we find ourselves--regardless of the conditions outside. 
Live for this moment. 
This very one
And be thankful!

(Note:  This post is for me just as much or more than the next guy.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Summer Cut and Wide Open Spaces

Daddy has threatened to buy a blender.
I can hardly stand the absolute, utter cuteness...