Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dragon Scone at Catholic Cuisine

I'm over at Catholic Cuisine today posting about the Dragon Scone we made last year for St. George's Day (April 23rd). I'm planning to make another one tomorrow provided we don't get swept away in the storm outbreak that is threatening us today. What are your plans for the Feast of St. George?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Natural Dyed Eggs 2015

If you've never tried natural dyed eggs and don't know where to start, red cabbage, yellow onion skins and turmeric are a good place to start. I almost always boil my eggs in the dye bath and then leave them in their dye baths overnight. But I have also taken white hardboiled eggs and dropped them into cold dye baths. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference, as long as you soak them for a long time, preferably overnight.

~Red Cabbage~
Shred the outer half of a head of red cabbage and boil in just enough water to cover to eggs and cabbage. Boil eggs in cabbage and then drain and pour dye into mason jars. Add eggs. Refrigerate overnight once the dye has cooled.
{From left to right: dye bath with vinegar, nothing, & baking soda}
 To vary the color and intensity, add 1 Tbl. of vinegar or 1 tsp. baking soda to the cup of dye and allow eggs to sit overnight. As we discovered the last time we tried the red cabbage experiment, too much baking soda will not produce the desired teal color. (I forgot this year and used 1 Tbl. instead of a teaspoon and that was too much for the small jar of dye.)

 ~Yellow Onions Skins & Turmeric~
 I used about 1 gallon bag worth of onion skins for a medium sized pot (4 qt.) that held 9 eggs. Shred yellow onion skins in food processor to help collapse them down and place in pot (optional). Cover eggs and skins with water. Boil for 12 minutes. Drain and pour dye into mason jars. Add eggs.

For turmeric dye, boil eggs in a small pot (1qt.) with 3 Tablespoons of turmeric. I have to admit with the turmeric, leaving them in the dye bath overnight didn't really seem to affect the color or intensity.
{Both of these were only boiled in their dyes, not dyed overnight.}
The two on the left were boiled in an onion skin dye and then dyed overnight too. The one on the right was a white egg boiled in plain water that sat in cold onion skin dye overnight (but was not boiled in it).

More onion skin dyed egg that sat overnight in their dye. This is the first time I've gotten eggs this red. Oiling them with olive oil helped bring out the bright red color.

Easter is a season… it's not too late to try natural dyed eggs!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015

The first year I made one of these little countdown Lenten lambs for BigBoy, I thought I had made a praying lamb, you know… with eyes closed in quiet contemplation and meditation. BigBoy dubbed it a "sleeping lamb". So, that's how our little lamb became a sleeping lamb for all of Lent...

 who then wakes up for Easter!

After morning mass at the monastery!

Our crimson red natural dyed eggs this year. I'm going to post more about them later.

Easter basket hunting time...

Miss Cupcake really wanted an Easter cake with flowers on it. I only had a bag of M&M's in the house so Sunshine made this for her...

She was delighted!

Happy Easter from our family to yours!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Natural Dyed Egg Roundup

Naturally dyed Easter eggs from 2010
For those of you looking, you can find a round-up off all of my posts on dyeing Easter eggs with natural dyes (veggies, tea, coffee, etc...) by clicking here. Happy Holy Saturday!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

{phfr} Glassblowing, cake, cuckoos and clotheslines


~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ with the lovely ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter

Wow, I haven't participated in a {p,h,f,r} day in so long. Here's hoping this gets me back into the swing of things.

We took a field trip to a local glassblowing studio that is owned by one the families in our homeschool group. We've been there before, back in 2007 but BigBoy didn't remember much of it so when the chance came up again to go for a demonstration, we took it. The owner and his team were working on a sculptured glass project which is different than a blown glass project. One of the guys took time out to give us a demonstration. He made a glass ornament, a glass flower and a fluted glass bowl.

 Glass ornaments
 Demonstrating how a glass ornament is blown.
 Glass blowing studio field trip with a demonstration coming up. The hottest place to hang out on a cold, rainy day!
 Making a glass flower
Just one piece of amazing artwork hanging in their studio. There were so many things I wanted to come home with!

 My kids were very happy that I tried out this new recipe for an Extreme Chocolate Cake in a Cathedral cake pan to honor St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. I seriously thought it was going to flop when I put it in the oven. The batter was soupier than soup! But it tasted amazing and made it out of the pan with only a few cracks that were easily repaired. I topped it with a simple chocolate glaze. It was awesome. Might have to make another one for Easter. (I did follow one reviewer's advice and replaced the boiling water with hot decaf coffee. I think it makes the cocoa taste richer. Also, the Cathedral pan that I have is too small for all this batter. Only use 3/4 of it and place the rest in another pan so it doesn't overflow and mess up the bottom of your oven and make you have to scrub and scrape it all off. Ask me how I know.)
My happy is this… my cuckoo clock. My grandparents had a beautiful one in their house. I wish I knew who had it now. I think my uncle, maybe. I loved that clock. I loved the tick tick tick of it. I loved hearing the cuckoo in the middle of the night when it was too hot to sleep. Knowing how special their clock was to me, my husband surprised me with the on my 30th birthday. It's is a real German cuckoo clocked shipped from the Black Forest. It's smaller than the one in my grandparents' farm house, but it's got the cutest little deer on it and trees and logs. I really love it. It has stopped working a few years back and we tried everything we knew or could find online to fix it. Nothing worked anytime it started up, it would stop again. So I left it on the wall figuring that we'd have to find a clockmaker to fix it. Well, something inspired Sean to take it down, open it up, clean it throughly (like he would an old computer) and it's working again! He doesn't know what he did to fix it, but it's fixed and Miss Cupcake has been just as enthralled with it's sweet cuckoos, just like I was when I was little. 


A ribbon tied to door knobs, a basket full of unmatched socks and a handful of clothes pins... that's entertainment! 

Seriously… if you have a toddler, try this. She spent about an hour hanging socks and then taking them down again. So much fun! So much quiet!

 Look at my cutie pie babies the first time they visited the glass blowing studio! So tiny. So cute! Seems like so long ago and yet only yesterday. So big now. So fast. Hang on to those tiny ones as long as you can.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today, we celebrated with a fruit rainbow served with whipped cream clouds and real Irish soda bread. None of that raisin and caraway stuff here! According to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, once you put raisins in it, it ceases to be soda bread and becomes tea cake. My kids love the real stuff.
My only complaint is that I find it hard to get a good, deep cross in it. Oh well, I guess I just have to try, try again. (My kids are cheering for joy. This is good soda bread!)

Just a quick reminder… if you want to order something from my Etsy shop, you have until Friday to do so. I'm closing up shop on Saturday, March 21st for a few weeks in order to give everything a chance to arrive before Easter and to prepare for Holy Week with my family. Thanks for understanding!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Etsy shop update

I am all caught up on orders for right now. If you placed an order prior to yesterday, then it is on its way to you already! I plan to shut down my shop on March 22nd (unless I run out of supplies earlier) so that all orders can be filled and mailed out with plenty of time to arrive before Easter and I can spend Holy Week focus on my family. I did want to mention that right now there are a couple of items other than kits for sale. First, there are two beautiful pairs of fingerless gloves hand knit by my daughter who you all know as Sunshine.

Also, I have a couple of ready made dolls if you are looking for a basket filler for a littler person who's not yet ready to do embroidery. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

See Me Homeschool {blog hop & link-up}

I kind of feel like I should call this "See Them Homeschool" because my homeschooled aged kids are all of the age and temperament that they can go about their day and accomplish their tasks without my direct interaction. Since I'm the last to post in this group, maybe what I'm really offering you mamas-of-all-those-little-ones is a little glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Please know that all your hard work is doing so much good. Someday, your kids will be doing their work on their own too, taking charge of their education and really embracing it as their own challenge (that is… if that's what you want them to do). You're helping create good habits now while they are young. Our days didn't always look like this… these days are the fruit of hard work and effort along with a healthy dose of discipline and a generous amount of fun. Hang in there. It's worth it!

I took these pictures last Thursday (February 19th) which I realized, after the fact, is the busiest day online for my high school kids. They each take two online classes and three of them are on Thursday. The Professor is taking Latin and Literature. Sunshine is taking Grammar and Composition. It was also the day before BigBoy's monthly book club so I was busy preparing for that when I wasn't tending to Cupcake's needs. As you take a peek at our day, please bear in mind, my kids are:

The Professor: 17 years old, high school junior
Sunshine: 15 years old, high school freshman
Rain: 14 years old, 8th grade
BigBoy: 10 years old, 5th grade
Cupcake: 3 years old with a mind of her own

Now the purpose of this project was to provide you with a photo essay of our homeschool days. (You can read my very wordy essay in the How I Homeschool Series here.) I will try to stick to that but a caption or two might break through my wordless resolve. Sorry. And, just as an aside, I am posting pictures of my older kids with their express permission. Privacy and respect is very important to teenagers and their preferences always come first.

Most days, by the time I come out from the shower or from taking care of/snuggling with Cupcake, my big kids have already had breakfast and are hitting the showers themselves or getting in a little exercise.
She can do it all by herself!
The hardest part of my day… keeping Cupcake busy!
In the meantime…
Lunch time!
(I get Cupcake's and mine. They get their own.)
The Professor emerges from his study desk in our bedroom for a well earned lunch and some personal reading time. Husband and I stay in touch via Gmail chat almost every day. During lunch, I like to check in with him. After lunch it's back to work checking math, practicing the piano, starting a new literature book (horsing around)… even Cupcake gets a little time to work on some phonics on the big computer. {Darn it… no more talking now.}
Exploding toilet… not a typical homeschooling activity. 
The end of the day included my teens making dinner together. Home Economics, Baby! It totally made up for the regurgitating toilet that everyone swears they didn't jinx.