30 May 2013

The Front

Our humble abode.
In case you're wondering what the front of our house looks like, here you go.  Weird, yes but that's what happens when you move into a house built by an eccentric architect.  Can't beat that deck though.
Exterior improvements sure to follow.

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29 May 2013

Indiana Mud

While reading a biography of Abraham Lincoln, I discovered the martyred president and our family have something in common:
Indiana mud.

"There were few roads of any kind and certainly none that could be called good.  For the mud of Indiana . . . is very deep and very tenacious."
The Life Of Abraham Lincoln by Henry Ketcham
Not sure if that's something to brag about, but I think I know how Honest Abe felt about spring in Indiana.

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28 May 2013

Homemade Wallpaper Remover

Why?!?!
In a few rooms of the house, someone painstakingly tore pieces of wallpaper and glued them to the walls.  One of the first things I did (after my girls discovered wallpaper was removable, hence it's short lifespan at our house), was tediously tear it down piece by piece.  Most of it came off without much trouble but a few spots were a bit tricky.  Here's a simple recipe to help the stubborn pieces slough off.

Ingredients:

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
Tear...
Mix thoroughly and pour into a spray bottle.  Spray generously (but do not saturate) wall paper, waiting a few minutes before peeling or rolling off.  If the glue or paper is particularly stubborn, score the wall paper lightly with sandpaper and respray.
...or roll and peel.
Soon enough your walls will be ready for redecoration! 

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Whole Wheat Calico Cookies

Why not get another serving of whole wheat in a cookie?

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
Here's where the cookie gets the calico.
Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together the butter and sugars.  Blend in the eggs and vanilla until just smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and soda and add to creamed mixture.  Fold in baking chips.  Drop by the spoonful on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are slightly golden.  Cool a few minutes on the pan and transfer to a wire rack.
Enjoy!

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26 May 2013

Honey Cashew Granola


I love granola of all sorts and this one features the sweetness of honey teamed with the crunch of cashews.  Eat a bowlful with milk, in a yogurt and fruit parfait or topped with craisins and white chocolate chips as a snack.

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup milled flaxseed (optional)
8 cups oats (quick or regular)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a very large bowl, combine the first five ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, honey, salt, oil and vanilla and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Pour over the dry ingredients and toss to coat completely.  Place on two cookie sheets spritzed with cooking spray and bake uncovered at 230F for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (the longer the crunchier), stirring every 30 to 45 minutes.  Once lightly golden and dried, cool.
Enjoy!
Thank you Meals to Deals for the recipe inspiration!

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25 May 2013

Busy Is Good

At the Indy 500 parade!
This weekend, despite the promise of an extra day with Jack at home, has already been a busy one.  We've dug up unwanted (and very stubborn) bushes . . .
(Well, okay, Jack did most of the digging).
. . . watched the Indy 500 parade . . .
What would a parade be without Super Grover?!
. . . checked the bees . . .
Alive and well!
. . . visited the horses . . .
. . . mowed . . .
(Well, okay, my father-in-law did most of the mowing).
. . . piled branches . . .
. . . and burned them . . .
. . . took out our frustration towards poison ivy with a well-aimed shovel . . .
. . . and tried to find the crack in the water spigot line.
Busy, yes, but busy is good.
Always my favorite part of any parade--the horses.

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24 May 2013

Homemade Graham Crackers

Here's a yummy recipe for homemade graham crackers.  They're delicious frosted and sprinkled, in s'mores (of course!) or plain for baby to gnaw on.
Baby Kate gives her approval.
Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup honey or molasses
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine first six ingredients.  Cut in butter until it resembles course meal.  Add honey or molasses and water until well combined.  Chill dough for about an hour.
Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut in shapes or squares and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, baking for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden but not burned.  Cool before icing, if desired.
Delicious as part of a homemade s'more!
Enjoy!
Thank you to On The Home Front for the recipe inspiration!
A little icing and sprinkles is bound to make any kid happy!

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23 May 2013

Over Three

This is the first birthday that Evelyn has truly understood what her birthday would mean.  Presents!  Cake!  A day of doing whatever she wants!  So, we took full advantage of her special day and celebrated with gusto her turning four.

We went to the zoo and met Indiana's Dairy Princess who graciously bestowed free milk upon the girls.
We're all about princesses, no matter who they benevolently rule.
We watched zebras graze . . .
. . . and cheetahs nap . . .
. . . and baboons groom each other . . .
. . .and flamingos sunbathe. . .
. . .and got up close and personal with some very friendly parakeets.
We spent time in the butterfly and botanical garden . . .
. . . where we admired some of the art . . .
. . . and got a little wet.
We decorated a "cake dolly" adorned in (what else?) pink, flowery, sprinkled robes. . .
. . . and didn't let any of the frosting go to waste.
Daddy showed her how to ride her new bike . . .
. . . before an evening of visiting neighbors, digging in the garden and an eventual bubble bath to end the day.

Evelyn is so over being three.

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