Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Food Frolic! The Fizzy MeMo

Our family's take on homemade soda.
The little ladies love that it's sweet and fizzy.
It's so easy to make that they can practically do it themselves!
The Fizzy MeMo
(try to find organic versions)
2 cups grape juice
2 cups cranberry juice
2 ¼ cups cold sparkling water

1. Mix the cranberry, grape juice
and sparkling water in a pitcher.
2. Add ice cubes.
3. Cheers!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

From Yogurt Tub to Trinket Collector!

This is an easy one and will take maybe 15 minutes to complete!
Yogurt tub (or any plastic tub)
pretty paper
glue/double stick tape

1. Trace around lid on paper.
2. Cut out and glue or tape to top of lid.
3. You will then cut an 'X' in the container. 

               This will allow toys/shells/beach glass to go in, but not tumble out!

1. Cover container with paper. 
2. Poke two holes on opposite sides.
3. Decorate container with stickers, glitter glue, etc.
4. Take the ribbon and poke through each hole.
5. Tie a knot on the inside that is bigger than the hole.
6. Put lid on container.

Voila! Your recycled container is done!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom ~ 02.24.10

Every child comes with the message
that God is not yet discouraged of man.
                                                                   ~Rabindranath Tagore

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Food Frolic! Garden Pasta Salad

In a good year, we can successfully grow most of the veggies in our own garden.  My girls like to pick the veggies and help make the salad.  In a year that the deer help themselves, our local market supplies all the organic veggies we need for this salad.

I like to use Newman's Oil & Vinegar dressing. It's all natural and tastes homemade, so while not organic, it's a great time saver.  Sometimes Meira will want cheese in it and sometimes not, so I left that optional in the recipe.  It makes a great school lunch - filled with protein and veggies and grains - and doesn't need to be heated, so it sits well all morning in a thermos.

Garden Pasta Salad
1 box of tri-color pasta
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced & peeled cucumber
1/2 cup sliced green olives
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 stalk chopped celery
shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese (optional)
1 bottle Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing

1) Boil pasta according to directions on box. 
Rinse & drain under cold water.
2) Mix all veggies in a large bowl.
3) Pour dressing over mixture,
add cold pasta and mix well.
4) Chill (and add cheese, if using) before serving.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom ~ 02.17.10

"People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty
is revealed only if there is light from within."
                                                                 ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Monday, February 15, 2010

For the Love of Teeth!

In general, throughout our lives, we go through a lot of toothbrushes.  Lately, I've been thinking about how to make this part of our hygiene a little more eco-friendly.  Everytime I brush my teeth or help my girls do their's, I think, "I need to find better toothbrushes that won't be super expensive and are good for our earth." And then I promptly forget until the next brushing of the pearly whites.

This weekend, we took a trip out to Trader Joe's.  While walking down one of the aisles, my little Morgi found a whole section of toothbrushes. Being the lover of teeth brushing that she is, she asked if she could have one. I read it over and checked the price ($2.99-not too bad) and put four in the cart.

The toothbrushes are by Preserve Products. I haven't researched any other eco-friendly brushes at this point to compare them, but these totally fit the bill.  Conveniently priced, locally located and 100% good-for-the-environment.
       *100% recycled handles made from yogurt cups!
       *BPA free!
       *Made in the USA!
       *100% recycleable when sent back to Preserve!
       *Fun colors!
       *Comes in a wood-based plastic traveling case!
See how exciting brushing your teeth
with an eco-friendly brush can be?!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Food Frolic! Pancakes

The little ladies don't always eat a big breakfast. We are always on the go in the mornings and breakfast usually consists of berries & a granola bar or a homemade biscuit & milk.

So on the weekends,  we sometimes like to do a big breakfast and a popular request is Pancakes! My base recipe comes from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.  I tweak it to make it a little healthier for the little ladies and this is one recipe that they barely notice the difference!
Weekend Pancakes
1/3 cup flour
2/3 whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp wheat germ
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten (or replacement equivalent)
1 cup liquid (organic milk/soy milk/almond milk or water)
2 Tbsp melted butter (or any kind of oil substitution - applesauce works really well)
(I always try to use organic ingredients when possible)

1) In a large mixing bowl, stir all dry ingredients together.
2) In a small bowl, mix liquid ingredients until well blended.
3) Pour liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
4) Stir until blended, but slightly lumpy.
5) Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into your lightly greased frying pan or griddle. 
I keep mine at about medium-hot.
6) When pancakes have bubbly surfaces, flip over to cook the second side.
7) Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

This is a great base recipe and can be easily changed by adding blueberries or bananas. If you use "purple" all natural applesauce, you'll get purply pancakes!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom ~ 2.10.10

doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is
the quiet voice at
the end of the day saying
I will try again tomorrow."
                                                       ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Monday, February 8, 2010

No Sew Recycled Wrist Warmers

When we go out to play in the snow, even though I do the whole *gloves-on-first-then-coat* with the girls, the gloves manage to eventually wriggle out and leave their wrists exposed.

So, I recalled reading about using socks as wrist warmers for outdoor play.  I dug through our sock bag for a couple mismatched & holey pairs and whipped up a few for the little ladies. 
I even made a pair for myself!
The great thing about them is that if you use knee highs, you get coverage up to the elbow.   It also adds another layer of warmth under their gloves and doesn't interfere with the fingers on mittens.

What a great way to reduce & reuse!
1) One pair of socks.
2) Cut the toes off.
3) Cut a hole in the heel.
4) Voila! All done!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Food Frolic! Maple Sugar Candy

Candy is a thorn-in-my-side in my house.
Everyone LOVES it and there are constant negotiations
with the little ladies to get their hands on some. 
So as a sort of compromise, we make maple sugar candy. I
t's good, it's very sweet, and it's not made with all sorts of white sugar and artificial colors.


2 cups fancy grade-A pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon organic milk or cream (can be omitted,
but helps to keep the mixture from boiling over)
wooden spoon
candy thermometer
powdered sugar

1. In a large deep pot, heat the maple syrup and the milk or cream over medium-heat until the mixture reaches 233-300 degrees F. on a candy thermometer . The lower the temp, the more brittle and clear the candy will be, the higher, the more grainy it will turn out.
2. Let the mixture sit for about a minute. Stir with a wooden spoon and immediately pour the syrup into a wax paper lined jelly roll pan or into oiled candy molds.
3. Let the candies cool. Then pop them out of the molds or
out of the tray and break into small pieces.
4. Toss with powdered sugar to keep from sticking
and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom ~ 02.03.10

"Be bold. Be brave. Be unafraid."
                                                       ~ Jane Yolen
One of our favorite books - Child of Faerie, Child of Earth.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Great Natural Scrubbers!

We like to use old t-shirts for cleaning around the house, only I find that they aren't always as thick as I would like for scrubbing in the tub or kitchen.  So I was cleaning out some drawers and came across an old thermal shirt that had seen better days.  The waffle knit in it was large and I thought to myself these would make great scrubbers!
I cut the body of the shirt into small cloths and used the bottom of the sleeves for hand mits. And I was right - the rougher texture made a great scrubber! Even the little ladies helped out with the cleaning and we knocked out the kitchen, bath, & living rooms in no time. 
I'm saving the cuffs and collar for some future creations - maybe a doggie coat or freezerpop cozies!
(You can even sew the end shut so that it stays on your hand better.)
Here's a few recipes to make for your own non-toxic cleaning kit.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vitamin D, anyone?

Our little trio is big on outside adventures - in all seasons and in all weather.  This past Sunday was icy cold (temps hitting the mid 20's), but gorgeously sunshiney.  A trip to the fabric store turned into an impromtu trip to the beach and playground in our neighboring suburb.
The beach is a dog friendly beach. No human swimmers allowed. The rocks are the breakwall and there's usually about 20 feet of water before it hits the shore. The sand is really cool when it's frozen - crunchy and easy to pick up in big slabs,
blown all around in crazy drifts.
We kept off the frozen ice, but the little ladies had fun throwing rocks to see if they could break it.  Lesson learned - just because it looks frozen, doesn't mean it is.
While we weren't dressed entirely appropriately for wind chills in the teens, we did manage to scrounge up some mittens and boots in the car to allow for a little extra playtime out in the arctic cold!
What is more fun than slides & snow?
Tunnels and ladders?
Even mom joined in the fun.
Look at those beautiful blue skies behind me!
Now go out and play!