Thursday, July 30, 2009

homemade graham crackers

I used this recipe for making our homemade graham crackers. I think it was a bit on the sweet side, so next time I will cut back on the sugar.
Photo by my friend Robin.

They came out awesome! And worked great for making s'mores.

Today is such a rainy quiet day.. I am loving it! Will probably do some more baking. Rainy days are perfect baking days!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

homemade marshmallows

Here is how I made the yummy marshmallows that we took camping with us. They were not really hard, just sticky and messy. But, if you like marshmallows, totally worth trying.. they were pretty fun to make.


* powdered sugar for dusting the pan and rolling finished marshmallows in
* oil for greasing the pan
* 2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
* 1 cup water
* 1 cup corn syrup
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* dash of salt
* 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

First off, grease a large baking dish and dust generously with powdered sugar.
In your mixing bowl, pour 1/2 of the water and dump the gelatin in. Let sit while you do the other stuff. Use a stand mixer unless you have a huge amount of patience.
In a saucepan, mix the rest of your water, sugar, corn syrup and a dash of salt.

Heat on medium, stirring most of the time. Use a candy thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.
Cook the syrup mixture until it reaches the "soft ball" stage, or about 240 degrees.
Pour the hot mixture (be careful!) into your stand mixer and mix on high for about 15 minutes.

You will end up with white, fluffy marshmallow goo.
Pour the goo into your baking dish. Get as much of it into that pan as you can.
Spread it around in the pan as much as you can. It is super, duper sticky!
Let sit for 4-5 hours to set. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top, then pull it out of the pan. Again, it will be really sticky and will stretch a bit as you pull it out.

Use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut the marshmallows into squares or whatever shape would be fun.

Roll each piece in the powdered sugar, this helps them not stick to each other.
Oh, yeah, super yummyness! Well, I don't really like marshmallows, but this one told me they were really good.
A wonderful little homemade treat that were better than the store bought ones.

I do, however like marshmallows cooked up black over a campfire.

Tomorrow... homemade graham crackers!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

painting rocks and making rainbows

I have been a little on the sick side, so we canceled art group this week. But, I still wanted to do something fun and artsy with the kiddos.

I am working on a little face lift for our nature table (fun stuff to share soon - I hope). Here are a couple projects we did to add to our new nature table space.

We have been seeing alot of rainbows lately because of all the rain we are getting.

So, I thought it would be fun to make some stained glass rainbows as a backdrop to the nature table. I've had quite a few people ask me how we do this so I am going to give more detailed instructions here.


* tissue paper in pretty colors
* construction paper (black works great, but any color is fine)
* clear contact paper
* glue
* scissors

What to Do:

* First off, decide on the shape you want to do. Keep it simple. We have done flowers, stars, moons, houses, the sun, houses.

* Draw out your shape on the construction paper and cut out two identical pieces. You have to think about it like stained glass, leaving a solid outline all around and openings where the color will show through.

* Cut a piece of contact paper a little bigger than the shape you are making. Peel off the back and stick one of the cutouts to the paper.

* Tear up small pieces of tissue paper and fill in the holes with whatever colors you like. You can also use scissors and just cut one big piece that will fill in each individual hole. I just like the textured look of overlapping pieces.

* Once everything is filled in, dab a little glue all around the outline and stick the second piece on top. This has your stained glass look nice from both sides.

* Cut a second sheet of contact paper and stick it sticky side down on top of everything. Use your hand to rub out all the bubbles and smooth it out.

* Cut close to the outer edge of your shape. Hang up and enjoy!

Here is the rainbow that Enrique did, mostly all by himself. He worked very seriously on this and was so cute, "I don't need ANY help, Mama!"

This is one of most favorite projects and is a great way to bring more color into the house. I loved that E got so into it this time.

Now onto some painted rocks....

We collected a few rocks from the yard and sat outside to make them pretty.

Anabel got really messy. She is LOVING painting these days!
Aren't they pretty? We are doing some paper mache bowls in the next few weeks with the art group and I think they will make a nice holding dish for these.

Monday, July 27, 2009

forgiveness is a good thing

So Enrique and I had a little fight. Well, it was more like mama getting kookoo crazy mad. I was not feeling too hot and decided to lay down with Anabel for a nap. Enrique was watching a movie. Then he came in and woke me up and started whining about something.

I just wanted to sleep. Really, really bad. And I totally lost it with him. I was so frustrated and upset I started crying and yelling. I had my hands on his shoulders, looking him right in the eyes screaming, "Leave me alone.. p-l-e-a-s-e!" It was not very pretty. Enrique got a little freaked out. I wanted to throw him outside and lock the door. I say it like I'm joking. But, really, I did. I don't think I have ever been this upset with my son and I, for sure, was having what I think was my worst ever mom moment.

About 10 minutes later, I was finally fully awake and feeling a little more sane. I apologized and we got on with the day.

Well, that night, while putting Enrique to bed, I came back to that moment of our day. Horrible, awful feeling. Laying with E in the bed, I pulled him super cuddly close and just looked into his big brown eyes. "I am so very, very sorry I got so mad at you earlier today." And he just looked at me with the saddest eyes. "Yeah, that was not very nice. You were really mean to me. I didn't like that." Oh man, break my heart! Then I said, "Please forgive me. That was not a very good way for me to treat you." "Ok, mommy, but don't ever do that again."


The next night, before going to sleep, he asked me, "You aren't going to get mad when you wake up in the morning?" "No. I am not. I promise." I think I cried myself to sleep that night. I hate that I made my son feel this way. Not some mean bully down the road, but me, his mom.

Last night, before falling asleep, he rubbed my cheek and said, "You are my best super hero mommy in the whole world." Forgiveness is a good thing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

this is summer

We went our first camping trip of the year last weekend. This is how I know we are really officially in summer. We usually try to go a couple of times each year and have another trip planned for next month.

This time, we went with some friends, which was really fun! Here are some pictures from the weekend...

My darling little sunshine girl!
Who is totally into picking flowers these days. I love that, so girly!
All the boys took off to collect firewood..
And came back looking all manly and macho!
Heading out on a little hike... some REALLY good conversations!


Hanging out around the campfire. I love that smell!

A bit of a blurry shot, but check out this amazing sunset.. WOW!

These two boys are going to be serious trouble I think!

Seriously. Look at them. Trouble I'm saying. BIG trouble. But, man, did they have a blast together!

And to finish it off with some super silly faces from my goof balls!

For this trip, I make homemade marshmallows and graham crackers to make s'mores. They were YUMMY! I'll share the recipe next week.

Have a great summertime weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

weekly art group :: stamping with paint

For art group this week, we did some paint stamping with random objects. I collected things from around the house that I thought would make good impressions with the paint.

Some of the things we used were cookie cutters, which worked really great.

I also had some balls and wooden eggs that the kids could roll around after they covered them with paint.

Then just using our fingers seemed like a good idea (can you see where this is going?)

Yes, things started to get a little more messy.
One of Enrique's finished pieces. He really liked using the egg to roll the paint onto the paper.
Anabel prefers using a paint brush most every time.
This little one is a SERIOUS artist. She kept going back to paint more just after her mom would get her cleaned up. She had paint ALL OVER her!
She is totally not afraid to dig in, make a mess and have fun with it!
And my little one had fun painting all the things we had out to use as stamps.
This was a REALLY fun project that all the kids really enjoyed!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a retirement and a birth

I have an announcement to make! I am retiring this blog.. Gasp! I know, crazy huh? Well that is because I am starting a new one! I have been mulling this over in my mind for awhile now and have been working hard getting the new one all set up.

I love, love, love blogging! But, I was feeling like I needed a new angle, something a little more personal, with more of what is going on with ME and with more sharing of what is happening with us fulfilling some of our dreams.

The new blog is called What Feeds My Soul and will still have lots of what you find here- art projects, nature walks and our day to day happenings. But, I am also going to be sharing alot more about what I am working on personally and some of the dreams we have as a family.

So, go check it out (and I hope you like it!)...

Also, I transferred over all the old entries from this blog, so if you are looking for something, you should be able to find it over there.

Monday, July 20, 2009

no spend month check in

Well, I really did mean to update last Thursday, but we went camping and well, summer time just means busy time. I have lots of pictures from camping and lots of other fun stuff to share about, but for now, I just wanted to let you all know how we are doing with our no spend month.

Here are the Grand Totals up until today:

Groceries: $95.35
Gas: $30.17
Bus: $1.75
Ice Cream: $8
Fishing Trip: $10
Camping: $32.96
Eating Out: $6.50

Amount Spent So Far: $184.73

Now, first off, I have to confess that Don got a little tip money and we bought some coffee and other stuff with that. I really should count that in our grand totals, but I am not going to. I am cheating a little, I know.

It is pretty crazy actually to see IN BRIGHT LIGHTS our whole relationship to money. We get a little extra, we spend it. That is how we roll. Not very powerful or effective when we are wanting to save money to fulfill our dreams. And wow, we are so justified about it all.. I'm telling you, this is turning out to be such an incredible experience. Don and I are really learning a lot, and (I think) starting to establish some new habits.

Going camping really threw us off, however. Especially because we went for a little drive on Sunday and a coffee here, an ice cream there, it really adds up. I think we spent about $30 that was "extra" tip money on things that we for sure did not need, but wanted.

In writing this, I am going to go ahead and add that $30 into our grand total so we can see just exactly where we went over (which we for sure will with that in the mix).

So, here is our real spending:

Groceries: $95.35
Gas: $30.17
Bus: $1.75
Ice Cream: $8
Fishing Trip: $10
Camping: $32.96
Eating Out: $36.50

Amount Spent So Far: $214.73

The real challenge now would be to only spend $35 for the rest of the month. Very unrealistic given we need gas in the cars and groceries for the next 2 weeks, but I am going to try and get as close as I can.

That feels better. I am such a cheater all the time! Trying to make things look better than they are. But this whole experiment is to cause a shift in how we do things and "cheating" is how come we don't own a house or go on great vacations.

Sorry this post is so ramble-y. I think there is really a whole can of worms opening up here right before your very eyes. Don and I spent a good chunk of our mountain drive talking about this whole thing.. what we want, how our spending doesn't help us to get there, what we need to do to change... again, I am so happy we took on this challenge.. I think it is working, the pot is being stirred and new things are brewing!

Don even said yesterday, "let's cancel the cable" WHAT?!! Did my tv watching hubby really say that? We have some stuff we really want to do with our family and our lives and we DO need to live a little more frugally and give some things up in order to get there.

So here we are confronting what it will take to get from Point A to Point B and making some small changes along the way. I feel like the little engine that could...

"I think I can, I think I can..."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

art group :: nature pressing

I could have the art group just paint stuff every week! I think paint is the funnest. But, it is good to branch out a bit, doncha think?

So this week, I grabbed a bag of sculpy stuff (what is that stuff called?) and then Enrique and I collected some flowers, leaves, and sticks from the yard.

We used our treasures to make press marks in the clay.

We had to use a wooden block to press them down, but it worked great!

The kids were pretty captivated trying different things until the rain threatened to run everyone inside.

Enrique got totally into making sculpy people. For the rest of the afternoon and into the night he was at it. Concentrating very hard.

Please do not use any images or content without permission. You can contact me at happydelz [at] comcast [dot] net. Thanks.

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