Tuesday, January 26, 2016

DIY Felt Crowns

I'm very late in sharing these but I made some really easy home made felt crowns for the girls this Christmas and they actually turned out pretty impressive looking so I thought I would post them here. I always aim to make at least one home made present for the kids and this year I went with the crowns because it was super simple.

I cut two sheets of felt in half in different colors that I thought would compliment each other and cut the tops in a zig zag line. After that I hand sewed some cute little felt flowers on the front piece and then machine sewed the two pieces together with a band of elastic at the back.

Clover doesn't care for hers but Echo actually loves them both and wears them regularly. It's such a nice feeling to have her enjoy something that I made so much and I also get to feel proud that they look great and were super inexpensive to make :-D

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sourdough Baguette

Ever since I got in to bread making I have been on a mission to make the perfect baguette. It has to be nice and crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with lots air bubbles. Well I have been using a new sourdough baguette recipe that is pretty amazing and I wanted to share it here.

2 cups sourdough starter
2 cups bread flour or all purpose flour
1/3 cup water
2 tsps salt

Mix all your ingredients together to form a shaggy, wet dough the night before you want to bake. The next morning, divide the dough in half and shape each half in to a long rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll each rectangle up to form a long roll and place in a well oiled baguette pan (the baguette pan makes all the difference in my opinion but if you can also try it just on a baking stone. You won't get the same rounded shape though.)

Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. In the mean time, preheat your oven to 500 degrees and place a baking sheet on the bottom rack. Just before baking, slice a long, shallow slit along the top of your loaves with a very sharp knife. Place the baguettes in the hot oven and quickly dump one cup of ice cubes in to the baking sheet. Close the oven door immediately so as not to let the steam escape, the steam is what gives you a nice, crisp crust. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool before slicing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

December Photos

We had such a lovely month full of holiday activity! Here are some of the highlights.

 We went to see the Christmas lights at the botanical gardens as we do every year, they put on an amazing show!

We also enjoyed an unseasonably warm Reindeer day at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

We danced in puddles and read stories in the days leading up to Christmas.

We also got in another visit to the botanical gardens. Echo and Clover loved having time to play with Uncle Logan.

Christmas day was a blur and I hardly got any pictures but here are a few of the girls with their presents, I think Clover got pretty overwhelmed but Echo had a blast.

 After Christmas we headed up to Cloudland Canyon in North Georgia for a few days. It was really nice to spend some time in nature after the holiday bustle.

Happy New Year and heres to more adventures in 2016!

Friday, January 1, 2016

This Year's Resolutions

Oh my goodness, a whole month has gone by and I haven't posted once! It was a flurry of holiday activity and I had a great time with friends and family but now it's that time again, time for resolutions! As usual, I have a laundry list of self improvement to work on. here are my current goals for 2016.

1. Practice meditation and yoga more.
I started taking yoga classes this fall and I got in to meditation through that and through a book given to me by a friend. I have been in some pretty scary places this year and yoga and meditation have really helped me through it. I feel like a crazy hippie saying that but it's true! Through yoga I feel strong, flexible and balanced. Through meditation I feel grateful, happy and at peace. It's all part of taking care of my physical and mental self and I want to continue the journey in the new year.

2. Get a toy rotation system down.
We are starting to accumulate so much kid stuff! Especially after Christmas it can feel really overwhelming and the kids honestly can't even sort through what we have. I'm taking steps to get a toy rotation system in place. I cleared some space in the basement for large rubbermaid tubs and filled them with toys, puzzles and games. Every month or so I will switch out the toys on our shelves with some that are in the basement. This makes things neat and easy to see plus it makes old toys that we haven't seen in a while feel new again. I can feel this saving my sanity already.

3. Get back to mindful eating.
I actually did a really good job with this last year and even through all my crazy medical stuff I was able to keep a healthy weight. However, as so often happens with the holidays, I've gone a little overboard and it's time to get back to my normal eating habits. Tracking my food via a calorie counter is really the best way for me to make sure I'm feeding myself well and it's time to get back to it.

4. Do more, spend less.
Last year it was really easy for me to convince myself I deserved a treat (which some times I really did!) and spend money on little things that I don't need. This year I have no medical emergencies to blame and it's time to reign in my spending. We've all heard how spending money on experiences rather than things makes you happier and I want to get myself in this mindset. There are actually a ton of free things that I can do instead of spending money so why not do them?

5. Hike more.
This goes perfectly with the resolution to spend less. It's all too easy to hit up Target when I'm bored and buy myself and the kids a lot of useless junk. ( I love me some Target but still, I always end up buying way too much there!). Next time boredom sets in I aim to hit the trails instead. Echo is actually super in to hiking right now and there are lots of short trails in the metro area that are perfect for kids. As an added benefit we are all a little happier and healthier from the time spent outside. Moving our bodies and having fun together in nature is the perfect activity to do with toddlers.

6. Have more of a sense of humor in my parenting.
Parenting is a tough gig as anyone can tell you. As much as I love my girls I often lose my temper and snap at them when they are, say, dumping baby powder all over the bathroom floor (which totally happened today). My first impulse might be to yell but I am aiming to see the humor in these situations instead and relax a little. I don't like myself when I am cranky with the kids and I'm sure it's no fun for them either. It's good to step back and remember that they are only toddlers and that these years will fly by all too quickly. I need to enjoy their crazy antics while I can and not sweat the small stuff.

Happy New Year everyone and here's to a happier, healthier 2016!