Friday, October 25, 2013

Recipe Friday: Coconut Rice

In honor of Family Fun Night last night, which was at the kids' school and had a Hawaiian theme, today's recipe is Coconut Rice, from The Bride And Groom: First and Forever Cookbook.  I love it and so did Olivia.  Ellie gave it a thumbs up, but didn't eat a ton.  Evan's not a huge fan, but he doesn't really like sweets too much either, so I don't really hold his opinion too highly.  Anyone that says, "No thanks."  when offered dessert can't be trusted.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Warm Paws

I was at the library today, being green and borrowing books an DVDs instead of buying them.  While I was there a poster caught my eye and I thought it would be something good to share.  I'm a dog person.  This is a well established fact.  So when I see that my neighbors have a dog tied outside ALL THE TIME.  It concerns me.  And the kids.  Every time we walk by that house on our nightly walk they ask about the dog.  They can't seem to wrap their minds around keeping the dog outside.  I noticed yesterday that our neighbors have made a shoddy lean-to for the dog--not going to do much good as the  weather gets colder.  So when I saw this flyer, it made me think about my poor neighbor dog.  It's a program called Warm Paws Dog House Building.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kale Chips: A Big Win!

Monday was Vegetable Day for Vince's preschool, where every child brings in a veggie to share.  I knew that there would be carrots, celery, bell peppers, all the "normal" veggies. I thought I'd send in some Kale chips for the kids to try.  So out to the garden I went, cut a few leaves of kale, rinsed them, tore them into bite sized pieces, put them on a baking sheet, sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled on some Seasoned Salt.  I baked them fro about 7 minutes at 350 and poof!  Veggie Day taken care of for Vince, and bonus lunch veggie to pack for Ellie.  I told you I've been giving my friend Stacy tastes of the healthy, vegetarian foods I cook as a "Fear Factor" kind of taste test.  Since I was sending some for Ellie, I sent her a quick text to let her know to try them.  And what do you know?!?!  Not only did they go over pretty well in preschool (so I heard) but I got a text back from Stacy that they were yummy.  YUMMY!  Not "ok", "or "edible" or "not entirely disgusting".  YUMMY.  So, since they were such a hit yesterday, I thought I'd blog, yet again, about how great kale is for you.  I have it growing outside and I go on kicks where I eat a ton of it.  I always feel great, but then I slowly stop and go awhile without my daily kale.  So this is a way to remind myself how important eating this leafy green is.  It's truly a "super food."

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Scary Seven

You've heard of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.  Now there's the Scary Seven.  And just in time for Halloween!  I got an email from Healthy Child Healthy World about seven ingredients to watch out for as you're shopping.  It was in relation to school lunches, but these guys are in EVERYTHING.  You can go to the website for an elaborated description of each, but here's the basic list.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recipe Friday: Baked Vegetable Rice

I blogged this recipe in July 2011, but after I made if for dinner last night and watched Vince eat all of his, then scavenge what was left off of everyone else's plate I thought it was worth a repost.  I've taken it quite a few times to pot lucks and it generally goes over really well.  It's a great way to get rice and lentils as well as veggies and even greens--a great all in one meal.  Vince agrees.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Suddenly My Mums Don't Seem So Cool

My mom sent me this link yesterday.  I'm always blogging about my gardening, but this is AMAZING!    The link I'm posting is to her blog, but if you scroll down you can check out the pictures.  They're from The Montreal Mosiaculture Exhibition.  They're sculptures made out of plants.  Some of them are 20 feet tall!  All of them are amazing!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Green Halloween

I've blogged about this before, but since it's seasonal, I thought I'd mention it again.  It's the Green Halloween movement.  As you might think from the name, it's a movement to green the Halloween holiday.  From their website, here are some of their ideas to green your Halloween:

25 Green Halloweentips
Halloween is meant to be enjoyed, but somewhere in between ―planning‖ and ―cleanup,‖ many parents find themselves feeling overwhelmed. It might seem that attempting to consider the Earth while planning a great ghoulish party is just too much work and way too expensive. Some fear it might even zap the fun right out of the day. But creating an eco-savvy Halloween doesn‘t have to be scary, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg when you follow these pointers:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kicking Up Leaves

As we were taking our nightly family walk--now complete with a lighted leash, 3 kids with headlamps and a glowing flashlight--I could hear the "crunch, crunch" of the leaves.  I turned to my left and little Ellie is scuffing along-kicking up leaves.  Then it was in my head.  So I'll share it with you, so that the next time you're outside and hear the "crunch, crunch" you can enjoy it too.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Home Is...

Home.  It's not a place.  It's a thing.  I'm finally beginning to realize that.  We've been looking at houses recently.  Our current house is a little too small.  It only has 3 bedrooms and we have 6 people.  We love to have family to our house, but we don't have a dining room to entertain.  Our play room is seeping into the family room.  You saw the basement pictures last week.  We're starting to outgrow this house. So we were looking at new houses.  Some had more bedrooms, some had more bathrooms, some had more living space, some had LESS living space.  I tried to picture our family living in each of these houses, but not a single one was HOME.  Home is something you can't really BUY.  I can buy another house.  A bigger house.  A better house.  But I can't buy another HOME.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Recipe Friday: HoneyCrisp Apples

I blogged about these guys before, but I just wanted to remind you about Honey Crisp apples.  They are THE BEST!  So sweet, great texture we love them!  I could give you ways to cook them, but they're so good just alone that I didn't want to do that.  So I'm going to do a variation of my favorite magazine, Vegetarian Times, monthly feature One Food Five Ways and give you five ways to enjoy this awesome fall treat.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Inner Harvest--AKA LIST MAKING!!!!

OK, I'm almost done with the Celebrating Fall list.  Exciting and sad at the same time.  I DO love to cross things off of a list... So, 1-4 are done and 6-10 are done.  That leaves #5 Make A List Of Your Inner Harvest and #11 Honor Your Ancestors.  So today, I'm going to make a list of my inner harvest-a cheesy way to say list your achievements and experiences from the past year.  The goal is to help you appreciate and restore gratitude for what you have and what you've done.  This is hard for me.  I don't focus on the positive well.  If you asked for a list of how I needed to improve, I keep that in my back pocket.  But a list of things I've done well--I don't really think about that too much.  So I guess this is a good exercise for me.  I'd like to come up with 10, but I think 5 is a little more realistic.  SO, here's my list of 5 things I did well in the past year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Apple Orchard

Doing the maze all by herself
I think I mentioned that we went to the apple orchard, but I never actually blogged about the whole trip.     October is always so busy, that I like to get the fall season started with an apple orchard trip in September.  This is, of course, not the best time for apples, as a lot of them aren't ready until October or November, but it's warm enough and there are enough varieties to still make it a fun day.  We went to Arrowhead Orchard again this year.  We went last year and it was during their 50th Anniversary celebration.  Miss Olivia was wearing her apple hat and got her picture in the paper.  This year we weren't celebrities, but we had more fun (no rain this year!)  I like Arrowhead for a few reasons, first, it's much closer than Beckwith's Orchard, which we went to for a few years.  Second, it's become much more "touristy" and has a corn maze, train ride, hay bale mountain and play area as well as a hay ride thorough the apple orchard to see the orchard, bee hives and stops at the pumpkin patch where the kids can pick a pumpkin.  I also like them because they supply Plain Local Schools (our school district) with apples for their lunch and breakfast programs.  It's cool to see exactly where you food comes from before it ends up on your tray--beside other items that are more processed.  I like supporting a farm that supports local produce in my kids' school.
Ellie and Vince on the train ride (it went through the corn maze)

Caden won't admit it, but he had fun.  Ellie and Vince WILL admit it, they had fun.  And even Olivia had a good time.  She did the kiddie hay bale maze all by herself!  I think the only one that didn't have fun was poor Nana--we made her pay for everything!  (Despite that, Nana had fun.  She ended up with cider--how can THAT not be fun?!?!)
Olivia, Caden and I on the hayride--beautiful blue September sky

I love going to the apple orchard.  It's such a great FALL activity.  I like being outside with the kids, unplugged from all devices, and watching them play.  
The boys.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Being Creative

Yesterday I said I was going to blog about Being Creative--another item on my Celebrating Autumn list.  I know that was I did doesn't actually count as creativity- some would argue it's the opposite- but it's crafty and doing a craft was on the list.  Making something (like my applesauce from Friday) was also on the list so I figure I covered this one on a few levels.  As I mentioned before, I went to Target and got a few activities to do with the kids.  I bought each big kid a foam craft to do and a packet of luminaries.  When they got home from school I showed them what I got and Ellie was on it faster than you can say Boo (or Whoo or Eek, depending on which craft you want to talk about.)  I had to force Caden to do his, but I think he kind of had fun.  Vince liked his too.  Ellie was by far the most enthusiastic, but that was to be expected.  She did the luminaries almost totally alone, Vince may have been allowed to do one.  They were all really easy kits, just

Monday, October 7, 2013

Turning My Home Into A Haven

I'm having so much fun doing all the items that I found on the "How To Celebrate the Autumn Equinox" page that I found!  Of the 11 items, I've done 7 already.  This weekend I completed #9 Turn Your Home Into A Haven.  When I first read this one, I immediately thought of two areas of my house in which this could apply.  First, my downstairs bathroom.  We have done nothing with it since we moved in.  We rarely use it, but now we're starting to send the boys downstairs to shower at night.  So, I thought it might be fun to decorate it.  I don't want to do much, just a few things on the walls, a new bath mat and some fresh towels.  The other option was to clean the unfinished side of our basement.  That's where I do laundry and where we store all of our decorations, kitchen appliances that we don't use regularly (the griddle) and all kinds of other stuff that never found a home anywhere else.  It was cleaned out the summer we lost Meg and got the laundry chute, but that was before Olivia was born.  It was overdue. It was beyond messy.  Let's just say you couldn't walk from one end to the other in a straight line.  Of the two I was all set to do the bathroom.  That one was fun.  I got to go shopping and get some cute things and be a little creative with making the boring bathroom into a boys bathroom.  Then we looked at a house.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Recipe Friday: Applesauce

Last weekend we went to the apple orchard and I got TONS of apples.  I'm finally getting around to making applesauce (and apple pie is soon to come).  I thought it would be a great recipe to share because it's so easy, and it's a great fall activity.  So here are the basics:


Apple Cider

Peel, core and slice the apples.  This is a cinch if you have an apple peeler/corer/slicer like this one.  I

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Getting Crafty

One of the things on my "Celebrate Fall To Do List" is to craft fall.  I got an email from The Honest Company and they had a link to their Pinterest page.  SUCH CUTE ideas!  Check it out!  I think I'm going to pick one to do on Halloween.  I always feel like Halloween is a bust.  Canton does trick or treat the Sunday afternoon before Halloween (Lame, Canton.  Really Lame.)  So the actual day is really pretty blah.  Usually the kids have school and it's just another

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The PSA Post

I intended to do this post Monday, but time got away from me--imagine that!  It's just a quick Public Service Announcement on two things.  One green and one not quite so green, but still a little relevant.  First, I got an email from AEP about replacing your "energy-hog" refrigerator  or freezer.  There're offering a $60 bonus to replace with a more energy efficient one.  Here's the actual email:

October is an ideal time to learn about saving energy during the nation's Energy Awareness Month. But this year, AEP Ohio is offering something extra when you recycle your old refrigerator or freezer - a special $60 incentive.
Starting October 1st and lasting through December 24th, AEP Ohio has raised the incentive from the normal $50 to $60 for customers who sign up to have their outdated, energy-wasting refrigerators or freezers picked up and hauled to a recycling plant.
If the temporary increase isn't enough, recycling refrigerators and freezers alone creates many benefits such as saving $150 a year on electrical costs, and keeping CO2 from the environment. 
Signing up is just a click away!

The second PSA isn't really for the public.  It's for Penelope.  I tweeted about her yesterday, but I want to put her on here as well because I really want

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's October First!

It's finally here!  I've been thinking about it all day, and I think October first is my favorite day of the year.  It's better than a birthday, better than Christmas or Easter, better than the first day of summer.  It's all about beginnings, not like Christmas, which I always feel is kind of a let-down because there's so much prep and anticipation that when it's here, it always just feels like it's slipping away.  Easter's a bust because the best part is over minutes after we wake up.  But October first means fall, decorations, and the beginning of Halloween.  (October first is WAY better than Halloween.  Halloween is just usually the day I can't wait to be over so I can take the decorations down because I'm sick of them after a month.)  So I'm all decorated, (well, mostly.  I ran out of tape so I still have a few little things to put up) and the kids are all excited.  Hazel visited us this morning (The older kids INSIST it's Mom, but she continues to try to deny it.)
Everyone in their October First Outfits. Caden says he doesn't smile that much.

Olivia's October First Outfit

The Classy Corner.  My sister made me the Halloween sign this year.  Thanks  Jen!