Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We've Moved!

 I have been thinking/dreaming/imagining a move for this blog for almost 3 years now.  I lost my domain name for two years, but now it's back! And I've moved the site over to Wordpress.  I'm still learning the ropes and the design is pretty basic right now, but it doesn't make sense to keep posting HERE when eventually I want everything to be THERE.  This site will be left up as is, but I won't be posting anymore. If you are reading in a reader, the RSS feed is set up and should work, but if it isn't please let me know!

So as of today you can find us over here at Growing Up Gabel (version 2.0)! On to bigger and better things!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Babysteps to Homeschooling

Just after we were married my husband and I met a family who helped us navigate our first year of marriage (and a new job and a move 2,000 miles way from our families!).  We were surprised to discover that the children in this family were homeschooled. We were blessed to spend a year being a part of their lives and we both came away fairly convinced that if and when the time came, we'd want to homeschool, too.

Well, the time has come! Ella turned five this month and she is officially old enough for school.  We decided not to start her with a formal Kindergarten program just yet.  The goal is to have her graduating high school at 18, not 17, so we'll wait one more year to make it "official".   But I thought we'd take this year and ease our way in to things.

I'm finding the whole idea of homeschooling overwhelming. I figure if I start homeschooling when it doesn't really "count", I won't be quite so panicked!  My goal for this school year is pretty simple: learn our letters (and maybe the sounds) and numbers and have some fun. That's it!  I'm not even pushing for reading (GASP!).

As we make our way along this journey, I'm planning to share what I'm finding and doing. There are tons of free resources available thanks to the internet and even if you're not homeschooling, a lot of what is available is just plain fun!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Pudding Pops

These went over like CRAZY around here! My kids loved, my husband raved over them and I didn't think they were too bad, either.  I used a popsicle mold I bought at IKEA about 8 years ago (and this is the first time I've used it!), but you could also use paper cups and popsicle sticks. 

I do brush her hair every morning....

Homemade Pudding Pops
1 batch of homemade chocolate pudding
Popsicle mold or paper cups/sticks

Use a spoon to fill mold or cups. If using cups, cover with plastic wrap and then insert sticks.  Freeze for about 4-5 hours. Unmold and enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Like most kids of the 70's and 80's, I grew up eating Jell-O pudding from the box. I do believe my mom had to actually cook it, though.  We loved chocolate pudding and I still remember the little Tupperware bowls with lids that she'd put the pudding in for dessert later.

While I haven't actually looked at the ingredient list of a Jell-O pudding box in ages, I'm fairly certain it's not a whole foods, whole living kind of list.  I was also pretty certain that homemade pudding could not be that hard to make.

With the idea of making our own "pudding pops", the newly turned 5 year old donned her brand-new Star Wars apron from Aunt Mimi and we set to work.  The texture of this pudding is a bit different from the boxed stuff, but my kids don't seem to care (probably because I've never made the boxed stuff for them).

I don't know where she gets these poses from!

(Arrowroot powder is a substitution for corn starch. You could probably use corn starch, but I haven't tried it. I do, however, substitute arrowroot for corn starch all the time.)

Homemade Chocolate Pudding
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sucanat
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons butter

In a medium saucepan whisk together milk, sucanat, egg yolks, arrowroot and cocoa powders and salt.  STIRRING CONSTANTLY, heat over medium heat just until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth and creamy (mine had some texture at first, but keep stirring and they'll go away!). Add butter and vanilla and mix.  Serve warm, chilled, or frozen.

Recipe from Heavenly Homemakers.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Balloon Wreath

This is a super fun, cute and easy craft to liven up your front door for a birthday or celebration.  You could buy specific colors of balloons to match an occasion or theme. I did a multi colored wreath because I want to use the wreath for everyone's birthday each year.  The wreath cost me about $6 total to make (thanks to coupons!).

1 straw wreath (keep plastic on)
1 pack of floral pins
4 packs of balloons

Start pinning balloons to the wreath... and keep pinning and pinning and pinning until it is as full as you'd like it to be! The balloons are only on the front of the wreath so if you want to cover the sides and back, you'll need more balloons.

The Birthday Girl

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How To Bake Bread on the Grill

I'm not sure this really counts as a "how to" post, since I've only baked bread on the grill once and I just threw it together.  But it worked so I thought I'd share.

My go to bread baking technique is the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day method. I baked and froze a ton of this bread in May, but we just recently ran out. With cooler temps this past week, I decided to re-stock the freezer.  On the same evening that I planned to bake bread, we made pizza on our grill so I decided to try and bake a loaf of bread as long as the grill was hot.

I put a sheet of parchment paper in a disposable pie tin. I tore off a chunk of bread dough from my batch, tucked it under (as directed for the "gluten coat") and tossed it in the pie tin.  I did not let the bread rest (AB5 bread usually rests for 40 minutes before baking) -- I just slashed the top.  I baked the bread on the "warming rack" of our grill.  The grill was on high for a good 30 minutes and the top was open and closed as we baked our pizzas.  I kept an eye on the bread as we cooked.  The crust got a bit toasty, but the crust was nice and hard once it was done. It tasted great!

I kept the bread off heat because I didn't want the bottom to char and it was still a bit darker than normal. This is a pretty unscientific method, but worth a shot if you need bread and don't want to heat up your house.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lemon Scones

Scones always make me think of Pooh... and I forgot to take a picture!

If you read this blog at all, you know that I love scones! They are so easy and quick to make.  This is a nice sweet scone with just a hint of lemon and is perfect for a nice summer breakfast.

Lemon Scones
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut in to small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
Turbinado or Raw sugar

In the bowl of a food processor (or a large mixing bowl) combine flour, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse (or whisk) together. Add in butter and pulse (or cut in) until mixture is in small cornmeal type pieces. Pulse (or stir) in buttermilk and lemon zest just until a dough forms.

Dump dough out on to counter and knead a few times.  Gently pat down dough in to a round disk, about 8 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter (or a knife) cut disk into 8 wedges. Separate wedges and spread out on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle tops of scones with Turbinado/raw sugar.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until edges and tops are just lightly browned.

Adapted from Pennies on a Platter

Image courtesy of Google Images

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