Monday, October 20, 2014

Homemade Ice Cream

So, I love making anything from scratch, especially desserts, but ice cream has always intimidated me. One I have NEVER owned an Ice Cream maker and Two, I thought it would flavorless. Well, boy was I wrong.

I was given an ice cream maker from a friend who never used it. So, I looked up a super simple recipe:

2 cups Heavy Whipping cream
2 cups milk
1 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp of vanilla


Let me say that again, THAT'S IT.

The kids went nuts over the stuff. They said they don't EVER want to buy ice cream again, but instead they want to experiment and try out their own recipes. And the best part, I bought GOOD ingredients. So there is nothing in this ice cream that I don't want to give my kids.

Next step Dairy Free Ice Cream for momma.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Off to a really rough start.

The beginning of the school year has, for the last 3 years, been the hardest part. Coming off of summer brains and trying to get back on schedule this year has proven to be the hardest yet.

Usually it's just because of summer and schedules, but this school year has already given us our share of  setbacks, injuries, sicknesses and tragedies. For starters, right at the beginning we had construction work going on all around us. As my bedroom and our backyard were being torn apart. Around this same time I also started back at my seasonal braiding job at the Renn Faire which has me gone most of the weekend, and still recuperating on Monday. Then I sprained my ankle....worst sprain I have had in years and was unable to walk for the better part of a week. After which I came down with the plague....(I still don't have my whole voice, and I am beginning to wonder if I ever will.) And then we had a death in the family which turned our close family's world upside down and we have been trying to get back to a sense of "normalcy" ever since.

So here we are about 5 weeks in to our school year, and I am frazzled. I am tired and I am stressed. To top things off the hubbs is traveling this week and I am here to man the ship. So what's a mom to do.....

press pause.

I am going to not worry about lessons this week, I am going to clean up the house, I am going to spend time with the kids, I am going to put things back into order and take a lot of deep breaths. Then I am going to spend more time with the kids, and A LOT of time with God. Then I can reset our school year and more importantly our home. Because we are still going to have a great school year. We aren't behind yet, but we will be if I don't find rest. And that won't happen until I realize that God is asking me to slow down and find my rest in him this year.

The Criswell Academy will be back in session next week, until then we are resting.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A bushel of apples

All three paintings beautifully displayed in our dining room.

Every year for the past 5 years I have enjoyed taking my family apple picking. We haven't made it out yet this year but as I was perusing Pinterest I came across a wonderful art lesson on how to paint a bushel of apples. I thought it would be a good project since we will be heading to the orchard soon for our yearly trip. 

You can find the lesson here, at I changed my lesson up a bit and asked the kids to turn the canvas or to zoom in on the bushel. We also talked about how apples are not all the exact same color red. Apples are red, green, yellow, and sometimes have several different colors in one. Beanie only wanted to paint red apples because right now she will only eat red apples. Oh the mind of a 5 year old. But the other two did a great job of mixing and playing around with different reds, yellows and greens to create depth and interest in their pieces.

They did wonderful job, check it out.


Beanie, I did help her with her apple shapes but she did everything else, Not bad for a 5 year old.

Booger. I was glad he decided to turn his and do something a bit different from his sisters.

 Have fun painting.....with or without the kids.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Kid Approved, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Taking our family to a gluten free lifestyle isn't easy. We aren't perfect. With the exception of Beanie and I no one HAS to be gluten free, they do it because I cook with gluten free ingredients. (If the hubbs wants pizza he ops for a local fave A-1.....gluten filled he calls it.) 

Anyhow, it's fall and fall means baking. The kids and hubbs went to First Fruits Farm to help harvest veggies for the local food pantry's this weekend and brought home 3 huge zucchinis. Which of course means.....yep, you guessed it..... zucchini bread. Here is the recipe that the kids LOVE.

Dairy Free, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

3 cups Namaste Gluten Free flour. (I use this because I don’t need to add xanthum gum)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½  teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups coarsely shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup dark chocolate pieces (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture.
  2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, zucchini, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add zucchini mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts (if desired) and the chocolate pieces. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pans, spreading evenly.
  3. Bake about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on rack.
  4. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Do you ever get a moment to yourself?

I have had 2 people ask me this question this week. When do you get moment to yourself? A good friend of mine who is just starting out as a homeschooling mom asked me if there is ever down time...if I ever get a break. Another was a family member just curious about our day to day routine. I honestly don't know how to answer this.

Yes, I have moments to myself. I go on dates with my husband, I have coffee dates with friends, I train for marathons and I go to the gym....I even get to play volleyball 1 night a week....GASP.....and I hold a part-time job. So yes, there are 'me' moments.

But, no I don't drop the kids off at school or walk them to the bus stop. We wake up together have breakfast in the kitchen and then head to the dining room for lessons. We spend the whole day together. Then head to gymnastics, karate, music, or church. I might head to the gym when my hubby gets home or go to volleyball. But when I come home we have family time, read books, say prayers, and go to bed to wake up and do it all again.

You know, when school started last month I was reading all these blogs about moms dropping there kids off at school and getting freedom. And watching these funny commercials about getting to go to Target alone. Or reading Facebook posts about finally painting that room they have been putting off forever. I was jealous. I was jealous of the free-time, jealous of the first day of school pictures. Jealous of the "normalcy" of it all. And to be completely honest this was the first year we got a push back from Booger about homeschool and him wanting to GO to school.

So I was beginning to question all of it. But then we started school this year and I realized this is our "normal".


We do life together, we do moments together, we homeschool together. And no we don't get many moments to ourselves, but don't feel bad for us, this is our choice. And with the help of God we are going to continue doing just this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Modernizing Mona Lisa

This year for art I picked up The Usborne Book of Famous Paintings. I am loving it.

Some lessons are just reviewing the piece of art and discussing it but others will be about putting our own spin on some classic art. Today was the Mona Lisa. Let's take a look at that famous picture...
Is she just beautiful? A bit out of date but I am sure she was a catch in Da Vinci's day. Did you know that Da Vinci used a special technique call sfumato where he blurred the corners of her eyes and mouth? Well he did, and that technique is what makes her smile such a mystery. Depending on the angle at which you view this masterpiece you will notice her smile change.

I was going to have the kids simply draw there own version of the Mona Lisa but then because of Pinterest I had a much better idea. Why not use the classic face and hands of the original but add our own artistic elements? Here are the results!! So much fun.

If you decide to do this for yourself you can download your own Mona Lisa Template here.

This is the original template
And here is what the kids and I came up with.....
Booger's Masterpiece

Beanie's Masterpiece

Peanut's Masterpiece. (Peanut and I both thought she would look better with eyebrows)

I did mine with a bit of a Harry Potter flair.

You don't need the book to do this awesome activity, just discuss the painting and artist with your kids and then let them have fun. A perfect art lesson for any age!!!

Hopefully Da Vinci isn't rolling over in his grave.

I am a terrible blogger.....but I will try to be better.

I haven't posted since Christmas...some of you didn't even notice and others have asked me to start posting again. So here goes nothing.

We are still homeschooling for those who are wondering. Booger is now in 6th Grade, Peanut is in 4th but doing all of the 6th grade work I assign to Booger, with the exception of math. And the little Beanie just started Kindergarten.

I am still loving it, though I have my days as most moms do.

I have been trying new things this year and am very excited to share them and help other homeschool moms not to feel as overwhelmed with everything.

So, stay tuned to see what we are up to!!