Crayon Cookies

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Elizabeth really loves to color. The problem though, is that she also likes to eat the crayons. And by eat I mean, break the tips off in  her mouth and scare mommy and daddy.

So, we needed a solution….

I took all of her crayons and made them into four of those little circular crayons. I’m sure this is all over the internet, but here is my version.

Most people do this to recycle all of their used and broken crayons. Not me, I used essentially new crayons. First step: Gather your crayons and strip them down. Don’t be fooled this can be harder than it looks. For example, this yellow crayon took me a full five minutes, which can feel like an eternity when you are just stripping a crayon.

I finally decided there had to be a better way…There is! Just soak the crayons in some water for a few seconds. The paper peels right off. Since the crayons are wax, it doesn’t do anything to them. Notice the tiny shreds of crayon paper.Some people just mix up the crayons to make “tie-dye” crayons, but that would drive me crazy. So I put similar colors together. I had to combine colors because I didn’t have enough of each color.

Once you fill up your muffin pan, put it in the oven at like 250°F or something and check it every five minutes or so. You can set the temperature higher or lower and heat the crayons for longer or shorter. I really don’t think it make that big of a difference. If you set the temperature really high, though, you should probably check on them often. I can imagine boiling crayon wax is not an idea. (Also, you don’t have to worry about your muffin pan, since crayons are non-toxic. )Pull them out of the oven when they are all melty and liquified. Then let them cool. Once they are cool, turn the muffin pan over and they should fall out, eventually. Or you can kind of twist your muffin pan (slightly) and that helps them pop out.

And voilà, you have cookie-shaped crayons!And yes, I realize the inherent flaw in trying to get Elizabeth to stop eating crayons by making them shaped like cookies!

-Sarah

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Ambrosia Hollow: A Fresh Start

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I feel the need to warn any faithful readers. This blog will be taking a detour over the next few months. I will still be posting recipes and fun stories about Elizabeth, but there will soon be a new element.

Friday morning, Brian and I put a deposit down on a house. Okay, so don’t wet your pants yet. We are just renting the house. But we have lived in apartments for the past four years. (Minus three months of hell in a country house-a whole other story for a whole other post). So to be renting a house is a much needed change.

My blog will most definitely feel the effects of this change as I document the way we turn a comfy little room-mate inhabited house into a cohesive and soothing place we call home.

We are only renting so there won’t be any wall knocking out or over-haul type work, but why should we make this any less of home just because we don’t own the place?

I am thrilled to have found this wonderful place. The house is exactly what I wanted. It is spacious and has lots of window which tons of natural light! The set up is almost perfect. I could write a sonnet!

If the place isn’t great enough, apparently the current tenants, who were a blast to meet and hang out with while they showed us the house, call the house Ambrosia Hollow! Brian’s not to hip on the name, but I think it captures the essence of what this house will hopefully be for me. Ambrosia was said to be the food of the gods, brought to them by doves, a divine exhalation of the earth. We looked at so many houses that just weren’t going to work. There was one that we thought would be absolutely perfect but the owner picked another couple over us. So we feel like this is the house God is providing for us and we love it.

My hope is that this house will be a breath of fresh air to me. There is so much space and light. I really haven’t stopped thinking about it since we put down the deposit. I can’t wait to get started making this house our home!

You can look forward to

  • pictures of the house before we do anything
  • pictures of our work and progress
  • after pictures of each room
  • funny stories-because Brian and I will both willingly admit we have no idea what we are doing
  • after pictures compared to the before pictures once it’s all done
  • lots of references to the amazing blogs I am learning from like: Young House Love and Making it Lovely
  • a wonderful journey

Keep reading!

-Sarah

p.s. Sorry for the mini-hiatus. It has been busy.

First Boo-boo!

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I know I must be a weird parent. We went to the park this morning and Elizabeth played with her best-ie Joan. After Joan and her mommy left we went for a walk. Now, when I say walk I mean Elizabeth walked off (sort of ran) and we followed her. At one point, in the process of running away from us, she fell down. This happens all the time but today it was different.

She skinned her knee!

She got her first real boo-boo today and you know what my reaction is? Not concern or worry(okay, obviously I was little concerned and worried, but that wasn’t my primary reaction),  no, I felt proud. What is that about? I guess it comes from the fact that I know she is such a trooper. I feel the same way every time I see her scar from the surgery she had when she was two days old.

I remember the doctors tried to comfort me and tell me that the scar would become almost invisible. I was thinking okay whatever. I was actually a little disappointed that she won’t always have it to remind her of how strong she is. That scar represents so much to me: like how she only cried during one procedure, when they pulled out her chest tube, out the many procedures she endured.

And so when she got this beauty,I knew that she would be okay. And of course, she was, after a tearful drive home and some lovin’.

I am thrilled that she is turning into such a brave, beautiful and strong girl. See, she is even poking it. I like to imagine her telling herself that the pain is only in my mind.

A couple of band-aids later and she was doing great.

I know it’s a strange milestone but that’s how we roll…or parent.

That’s my girl-y. Love her.

-Sarah

Southwest Turkey Burgers (1)

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Summer is creeping closer and with it comes our favorite summer meal:

Southwest Turkey Burgers and fries!

The recipe is from Cook Yourself Thin, but I kinda do my own thing and make do with what I have.

Admire the grill pan! (an early mother’s day gift)

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And for dessert….STRAWBERRIES!

This meal is so easy and great alternative to your normal burger! So yummy.

Southwest Turkey Burgers and Fries

  • Pre-heat the oven-425ºF
  • Slice up your sweet potatoes (and normal potatoes if your hubby doesn’t like sweet potatoes).
  • Throw them in a bowl with some olive oil and your choice of spices. (salt, chili powder, garlic powder and lime is yummy)
  • Spread them on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes. Don’t forget to stir them every 10 minutes or so (that way they don’t stick to the pan).

While they are cooking:

  • Mash ground turkey and a can of green chiles all together (I mean take the green chiles out of the can).
  • Make patties (refrigerate the patties for a few minutes, especially if you are putting them on the outside grill!)
  • Cook those patties on a grill pan or outside grill.
  • Assemble with avocado, tomato, lettuce and etc.

Strawberries are just cut up and sprinkled with sugar. Then leave them in the fridge while you eat dinner.

Easy Pea-sy Recipeasy!

What is your favorite summer recipe?

-Sarah

Finals Week Remix

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Okay, so I took a personal week. Sorry. I had a number of essays, projects and finals with which to deal. I have one more final exam tomorrow (technically today) morning. Then I have a portfolio of poems to turn in by Friday.

Almost. Done.

Then the summer will officially begin with a whole new set of problems. (like finding a nice place to live. . . .that isn’t an apartment)

Sweet scented Iris blooms from the farmers market added a splash of color and relaxation to our busy week.

Nerd-E is ready for the studious week ahead! (The glasses actually go with a build-a-bear.)

Elizabeth and Daddy are hanging out on the porch, being silly of course.

I love her lovin’!

My little bathtub artist is so inspired.Her final piece.

We are chilling on an off day. Its early and we are still in our jammies.

There was more to our week like studying, running errands and feeding the ducks at Theta pond, but this is what we captured in pictures. Maybe we will get some cute pictures of feeding the ducks next time.

This week marks the end of the school year, but watch out Summer, because here we come!

What do you have planned for this summer?

-Sarah

Fostering Rebellion?

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I realized the other day that I am quite happy with the way my daughter, Elizabeth, is turning out.

She has a great sense of humor and a wonderfully contagious laugh.

She is goofy as all get out.

And she has this little tiny, blatantly rebellious streak. Like, she might throw her milk cup on the ground exactly because I told her not to.It seems most parents would balk at the idea that rebellion is a good trait. Wouldn’t it be easier if our kids would listen to us. . . and not throw their milk cups on the ground!

But I guess I’m a little different. I feel like her instinct to question authority is something to foster.

For me it’s easier to take a step back and ask myself “Why am I rebelling?” Then I can decide if I need to stand up for what I think is right or if I need to reign myself in because I am rebelling just to be rebellious.

I think its easier to step back and check myself simply because of the way society functions. If you’re doing something counter-culture or different than society says you should, most likely, you are going to be questioned and potentially told to stop. At which point you, or a person who has rebellious tendencies, can stop and re-evaluate his or her actions.

In the opposite situation, where a person is the type to naturally obey and do as their told, that person may lack the innate ability to question their actions and motivations.

Now, I know encouraging this kind of behavior does NOT make my job any easier. As a parent this means a couple of things:

One, I will be spending A LOT of time explaining the “whys” behind the rules.

Two, I will have to be much, much, much, much more patient. Much.

But if I can manage to put this theory into practice, I think the time and energy will be well-spent. This idea will hopefully foster a relationship of trust between myself and my children, rather than one of control and blind obedience. Instead of my kids doing what they’re told “because I said so,” I hope my kids will learn to trust me. Eventually, they will be able to trust me because they know I am asking for behavior that has their best intentions in mind.

They will also learn how to make good decisions based on the values they’ve been taught, as opposed to them not knowing what to do in a scenario because they never encountered it while I was around to instruct them or tell them what to do.

My theory comes down to the principle that teaching children the values behind rules, instead of just the rules, will help them become more competent adults, while reinforcing the fact that a parent’s guidance is out of love, not control.

Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do.

-Sarah

Let me know what you think about this.

Farmer’s Market Inspired Meal #1

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Phew! Before I get started on this meal, let me just apologize. The past few weeks and especially this weekend, school has been life-sucking. Now I am in between major assignments and can post, yay!

Also, at some point this semester when I was thinking of ideas for my blog, I had a brilliant idea. I could go all around campus and find little places to take a nap. I thought I would wait until close to the end of the semester, when people are walking around like zombies. Well, I did just that….and you know what? I am way to freakin’ tired to run around campus taking pictures of potential nap locations. I am too busy needing a nap myself! How’s that for ironic?

Anyway, on to business:

In case you didn’t notice in my last post, I am super excited for the Farmer’s Market. We love, love, love it! And so I will be posting a series of meals that are inspired by the stuff at the Farmer’s Market. I hope this will convince you to shop at your local Farmer’s Market, if its available.

Here is inspiration #1: Ribs, Asparagus and Cheesy Jalapeño Bread

Ribs: Okay, so I bought those at the store. I know, I know, we don’t shop exclusively at the Farmer’s Market. Although we might, if it was possible. Anyway, I just bought some ribs. But I cook them in the crock-pot. Seriously, all I do is put them in the crock-pot, pour barbecue sauce over them and let them cook all day (5-6+ hours).  If you start them in the morning, they should be ready by dinner. A tip: brown them a little bit before you put them in the crock-pot, it helps them retain moisture.

Asparagus: We did buy the asparagus at the market, and I wish we had bought waaay more. It was so gooood! All I did, after I rinsed them, was toss the asparagus in some olive oil and seasoning. I seasoned mine with, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. The I spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F until they looked cooked and a little crispy, maybe 10 minutes. You can adjust the time according to your preference.

Funny story: Like a good mom, I steamed a few pieces of asparagus for Elizabeth, so that she wouldn’t have to deal with the spices. When I gave them to her, she hated it. She spit them out and made a terrible face of rejection. I offered her a piece of my asparagus thinking she would nibble it and not like the hot spice. No. She almost ate my hand off trying to get more asparagus. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised; I love spicy food and have ate a lot when I was pregnant, as well as when I was nursing. At least she isn’t picky.

Cheesy Jalapeño Bread: We also bought the bread from the farmer’s market. The family that sells bread, makes some really great stuff. I won’t spoil the surprise since I’m sure I will be writing about it later. Anywho, I sliced off a couple pieces, buttered them lightly, sprinkled them with cheese and then stuck them in the oven for the last few minutes with the asparagus. These ingredients combined! Make dinner!As Dora the Explorer might say: Yum Yum Yum Yum Delicioso!

So yummy, so easy!

Have a great evening!

-Sarah

How Does Our Garden Grow?

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Here is an update on our little porch garden.

Let’s start with the bad news first:Our tomato plant. . .is DEAD! We will buy a new one on Saturday at the Farmers Market.

→Which by the way if you are a Stillwater resident, you should go to the Farmer’s market. It happens every Wednesday and Saturday 8am-1pm. This goes on from April through October. Right now most of the selection is herbs and baby plants, but as we get deeper into the Summer, the produce is amazing. There is a lady who sells homemade salsa that is great, as well as enchilada meals and lots of other goodies. Then there is one seller who makes homemade dog treats. Tango and Peanut go nuts for them. And the another family, Oh my goodness! sells fresh baked bread and cookies and scones. It is absolutely delicious. Check it out. And if you don’t live in Stillwater, find out about your local Farmer’s Market for sure!←

Anyway, our other plants are doing much better than the tomato plant.My chocolate mint plant is growing toward the sun!Our sunflowers are growing like crazy!We planted two kinds of flowers in this pot and now both have sprouted! Yay! As you can see, one side is growing like crazy and if you look closer, the other side sprouted too.I had almost given up on this pot, nothing had sprouted. Then this morning I noticed the dirt was rising… and when I pushed the dirt around a little, I was pleasantly surprised with hidden sprouts. Woo hoo! All of our flowers are sprouting! This is a first for me. Every year I buy flower and then kill them. Apparently all I needed was a little green-thumbed gardener to help me.

We also have an addition to our humble garden. Some friends uprooted this beauty from their own garden.

They surprised us by putting in a pot and leaving on our porch.

Introducing. . . . . . .

The Friendship WeedEveryone should have friends like this!

Have a dandy day!

-Sarah

Not Fully Prepared Lemon Bars (and a giggle)

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Once upon a time, my hubby tried to make me lemon bars. The recipe he had called for lemon zest. He had no idea what that was, so he just add more lemon juice. His lemon bars were yummy, but they lacked that certain…for lack of a better word, zest.

When I saw this recipe on Recipe Rhapsody, I had to try it. This recipe didn’t call for lemon zest. And secretly, I thought I would show my husband what a lemon bar should be.

While my lemon bars were cute, they were not quite a success. I was halfway into the process, squeezing lemons, and I realized I didn’t have enough lemon juice. I even added some store bough juice and I didn’t have enough. So bah! But I wasn’t about to stop in the middle.

All things considered, they were pretty yummy. My hubby claims he likes them better with less lemony flavor. So, I guess, technically, I still showed him what a lemon bar should be. But I am not satisfied. I will be revisiting this recipe!

Elizabeth wants some!Okay, here’s a bite.More! of that!Okay, one more bite. No more after this.Oh crap!

Well, at least she like them, a lot.

Since I messed up the recipe, why don’t you swing by Recipe Rhapsody and visit her for the recipe. She has some helpful tips too. (Veronica, I hope you don’t mind.

Lemon Squares from Recipe Rhapsody

And here is a giggle. My husband is pursuing his Master’s degree, can’t you tell by his study materials.

We actually went to buy this book today, not for Elizabeth. So, he legitimately had an assignment requiring the reading of The World of Pooh.  I even asked permission to post this. It cracked me up.  I hope it gave you a giggle! I find at this point in the semester I need more of those.

-Sarah

Love Medicine Cookies

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I had a presentation on Friday for my Literature by Women course. It was on the novel, Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich.

To make my presentation memorable I made love medicine cookies. They reflect the author’s heritage. She is part Ojibwe Native American and German.

So the cookie recipe I used was called Zimtsterne; it is a German spice cookie. And I used a raspberry jam, which is apparently an traditional Ojibwe food.

They are shaped like a heart because the title, get it? Get it?

I had about 27 people in my class and so I had to make about 3o cookies x 2 because it was a sandwich cookie. This is my pile of cookie parts. Phew! It took me forever to make all of those!

Finished product: A pile of Love Medicine Cookies!

Love Medicine Cookies

with Zimtsterne Cookie Dough (This makes enough dough for about 10-15 cookie sandwiches, this will vary depending on the thickness. I used a double batch.)

Recipe Source: Allrecipes.com but I altered mine a bit, if you want the more traditional German spice cookie go there.

You could always use a different dough.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (you could punch this up for a more lemony flavor)
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I think I cut this in half because it is so strong)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (As I was typing this, I realized I didn’t add any salt, oops.)
  • Raspberry Jam for filling. (You could also use a different jam of your juice.)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375° F and lightly grease your cookie sheet.
  2. Cream butter, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest, until light and fluffy.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. On lightly floured, cloth covered board, roll the dough out to desired thickness. Use 1/3 at a time.
  5. Cut out half heart shaped bottom, then half heart outline shape.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes.
  7. Let cool completely.
  8. Once cool, pipe a little of the raspberry jam on the bottom cookie, enough to help the top cookie stick.
  9. Place top cookie on top.
  10. Then fill the heart shaped hole with a little bit more jam. (This process make for less of a mess.)
  11. You can either serve immediately or let them sit in the fridge over night. This helps the jam to thicken a little.
  12. Be a hit at your next occasion to serve heart shaped cookies.
  13. Variation: Dust the top cookies with powdered sugar before putting the cookies together.
  14. Tip: Make enough so that you have extras, especially of the heart with the cut out middle, they are kind of fragile.

Ideas of the left over dough

  • The little heart insides would make for a cute bite sized treat for kiddos.
  • Or you could burn the left overs to death and then your dogs would love you.

Have a great Saturday!

-Sarah