Thursday, October 22, 2015

Echo Cooks

For Echo's Birthday we got her a cookbook of her very own and she is turning in to quite the little chef! She has been interested in cooking for a long time and has been helping me in the kitchen ever since she could hold a spoon but it is fun for her to have her own cookbook that she can pick recipes out of and take the lead on.

We started simple with some popovers. They were a big hit with her and Clover so we have made them several times. We also tried some simple dessert type recipes out of the book and then I asked her if she would like to make dinner one night. She jumped at the chance and I helped her select recipes and go shopping for ingredients.

She ended up making popovers (of course) and veggie noodle soup. It was pretty cool to have our 3 year old make dinner for us with pretty minimal help on my part. She was so proud and excited about it too!

If you are looking for a cookbook for your young child I really recommend the one we have been using, Pretend Soup by Molly Katzen. I have several of Katzen's grown up cookbooks and they are some of my favorites! This one aimed at preschool to elementary aged kids is great with step by step picture instructions and simple, kid friendly recipes.

Monday, October 12, 2015

What's New With Me

I write a lot about what the kids are doing but I wanted to take a second to do an update on me. One of my goals coming out of my cancer treatment was to really take some time to focus on myself as an individual. It's so easy to make your life all about your kids when you are a mom and yeah, obviously a huge part of my life is about my kids. However.... I think it's really important for me to work on some of my own goals as well. I'm starting small and tackling one thing at a time but I am proud of myself and I am beginning to accomplish some of the things on my list.

One thing that I had been wanting to do forever is to attend one of the food swaps put on by the Homestead Atlanta, a great group that offers all kind of classes and workshops on a variety of topics related to homesteading. The food swap was a lot of fun and we met some really interesting people. The above pictures were snapped pretty hastily on my cell phone so I'm sorry for the terrible quality but it will at least give you an idea of what it was like. We brought apple butter, apple sauce and pickled jalapenos to swap and ended up taking home a whole host of stuff including jams and jellies, baked goods, mustard and fresh produce. I love the idea of this and am so glad I got to go! On the whole I'm not sure I would do it regularly since I feel like we ended up with a lot of stuff we didn't really need/want just because we got caught up in the swapping frenzy but I think it was definitely fun to try and I might consider hosting a swap among my friends at some point.

I have also started a yoga class this Fall which is something I had really been looking forward to and I am not disappointed! It feels so amazing to be doing something good for my body and I also love the quiet, meditative aspect of it. Not only is it some much needed me time but it is also bringing me a lot of peace and helping me let go of some of the anger I have been holding on to.

I have been busy and active in the new homeschooling group we have joined as well and I am dipping my little toe back into teaching by starting to teach an art class for our group. Right now it is not going to meet all that often but we will see how it goes, we have the first class this week. I am also turning in to somewhat of an ambassador for unschooling, I did an interview for a group member's blog a little bit ago and I am teaching an unschooling workshop in November for interested parents.

So this Fall has been busy for me as well as the kids but it is all good and I am feeling really happy and fulfilled lately. More and more often I am waking up with a sense of peace and gratitude, I am so lucky to be in the place I am in! I have more little goals to work toward but I have definitely made a good start and it has helped me see what an amazing and full life I am going to have after cancer.  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sourdough Bread!

I am such a lover of bread and I have really gained some skill and confidence when it comes to baking over the past few years. I've acquired some really excellent bread cook books and there is just nothing like the experience of making delicious home made bread to sooth me. One area of baking I hadn't had the nerve to tackle though was sourdough... until now! I always thought sourdough sounded so intimidating, what with having to keep the starter alive and all. I also didn't know how to get started, should I buy a starter? Make my own? Well luckily for me one of my generous friends from Echo's preschool program offered to share her starter with me (as well as some tips for keeping it alive) and it has been magical. The recipe I've been using can be found here. It's a no knead recipe and it takes a long time to rise but in terms of hands on time it's very quick and easy. The taste is amazing and I haven't had one failure yet in spite of experimenting with different ratios of different types of flour. The taste of this stuff is amazing, it was love at first bite for sure. Have you ever tried making sourdough? It is so good and it kind feels like magic that you can make bread without yeast!

Monday, October 5, 2015

September Photos

Many of these pictures have already appeared on facebook but I'm posting them again on the blog anyway. We had a fun month in September with lots of activity! In addition to lots of fun stuff with our home school group (which I have no pictures of) we went to the botanical gardens in Gainesville, and apple picking for Echo's Birthday.

The Gainesville botanical gardens are a branch of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens which we are members of so we got in for free! They are really lovely but very small at this point, I'm sure they will adding on though and it will be worth going back to.

They also had an awesome Lego exhibit that the kids really enjoyed with some pretty impressive Lego sculptures as well as activities for the little ones.

I'm also including a few extra shots from Echo's Birthday shoot. She has grown so much this year!

 It rained on Echo's Birthday which it often seems to do but we were determined to carry on with our apple picking plan! We had a great time in spite of the damp and even got to do the petting zoo which both girls loved.

 On the way home we stopped for Barbecue and the girls got to ride this awesome mechanical pig.

Then home for presents and chocolate. Echo requested a pile of chocolate like they have in a particular scene from Frozen (her favorite movie of course) so I made a cute little display with an Elsa cake topper and paper snow flakes.

That's it for this month but we have lots of fun things going this October too! Stay tuned for more.