August 26, 2010

Ice Cream (in a bag)

We have an abundance of mint. Apparently, its the one thing in our garden that the rabbits have no interest in, or maybe we have so much that they can't seem to put a dent in it. I've been cutting and drying it for tea for a month now. That, however, can only get you so far.

I came across a recipe for mint chocolate chip ice cream last summer. We don't have a ice cream maker so that never was attempted. Then I read this post and thought we'd give it a try. Who knew you could make ice cream in a bag. An attempt to hang on to these last days of summer.

I was surprised at how cold the bag of ice and salt got. The directions I found said five minutes till you had ice cream. Ours didn't work like that. I had put at least triple their recipe amount into our bags, guessing that makes the difference. We worked on that bag for over half an hour, until our hands were nearly frozen. It was still milk shake consistency at best. I tossed it into the freezer. Went back to it every hour to massage it a bit. It was a thick chunky milk shake by bed time. My hopes were not high as I went to bed.

By morning it was done. We tried it after dinner that night. And it turned out good. Much different flavor than store bought mint ice cream. A good, natural, vivid mint taste. Pretty perfect with chocolate chips.

August 11, 2010

Run, Jump, Forward Roll

We've been enjoying a tumbling class for the past few weeks. By we, I mean Piper is enrolled in the class, Calder finds great amusement in all the kids, Zac and I sit proudly grinning at our adorably uncoordinated daughter with her expressive faces. I found it wonderful that when asked to stand in line she had no idea what they were talking about. Who needs that when your life is lived at home.

I have to give her credit, she's doing great. Unlike the other kids, who all have a year or two on her, Piper's a first timer. It sometimes takes her a bit of studying of the other kids to be able to do the task that's asked of her, but she gets it.

Piper is loving tumbling. She picks a special outfit to wear each week, which is a joy in of itself for her. She likes the trampolines to jump on. The mats, 'so when you fall it doesn't hurt'. She loves the flipping over, and over, and over.

Oh and her favorite part of class...the piece of candy they give out at the end. Despite Piper's love for tumbling she tells me in fall she might want to try sunshine tot yoga. She may change her mind again in the weeks before tumbling is over.

August 09, 2010

HGH Picnic 2010

We had our annual picnic Saturday. It was wonderful to see all who attended. In retrospect I should have delegated the photographing to someone else, I just had too much else going to adequately photograph the event. I did snap a few early on, before all guest had arrived and dinner was served. Looking that the group shot it seems that mostly who's missing is my siblings...hmm late a bit?! Could that be genetic? I'm known to do that also.

Piper and her cousin both in dresses made by me.

I was pleasantly surprised at all the littles that showed up wearing something made by me. Four of them! It felt good.

Thanks for joining us!

August 04, 2010

Baking Day

Summer is a hard schedule to keep. With it's nice weather and flurry of happenings. We lost our rhythm at the beginning of summer, which I expected to have happen. Slowly over the last weeks or month I've been trying to work on a new rhythm for our days and weeks that will carry us into fall and winter. Not that I want a set in stone rhythm - I much prefer the semi-predictable ever evolving rhythms. Some of it's easier to keep up with than others. Such as we take our morning nature walk with out fail. Monday is always grocery shopping day. And although most day's rhythms go as normal, sometimes swimming or going to the park get us a bit off.

One I'm still working on is baking day. Which usually consists of baking our bread. If there are treats in the house, we (I) eat them. I'd much prefer to just not have them around often. But bread baking produces enough loaves to get us through two, sometimes three weeks. On the weeks in between I was lost as to what to do. I recently found a cookbook that I'm really enjoying, Feeding the Whole Family. This week I decided to bake some cookies from the book. We chose the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies but substituted raisins for the nuts and chocolate. There is no sugar and whole wheat flour in this recipe. So really a more healthy alternative to the standard cookie - that I can handle.

Piper loves the process, the apron, the dumping and pouring of ingredients into bowls, stirring, and tasting. Today she started tasting when it was just the dry ingredients in the bowl. Who knew she'd like whole wheat flour and oatmeal so much.

Once the wet ingredients were added there was no stopping her. They're sweetened with maple syrup. I think had she not eaten so much of the dough we would have ended up with a dozen full sized cookies.

The fun, tactile, part came when we had to form the cookies with our hands. Kind of a gooey sticky consistency.And of course there is always lots of clean up. More oatmeal, less flour than our usual clean up. Now we're enjoying some delicious cookies at our house.

August 03, 2010


Zac was off fishing in Canada for five days. I packed up the littles and headed for farming. On this trip we had no agenda. My brother and his wife were visiting too. Which was great since our visits don't often overlap. Wednesday we met the Wausau family for Concert on the Square, had a quick play date with friends we don't see often - even when we're up for a visit often, and a visit to the Ninepatch stand at the farmers' market. But mostly, we did nothing in particular.

On this trip farming meant:

Playing on the back porch with your diaper half off.

Drawing on the kitchen floor with a cute hairdo provided by Auntie. (Not sure how she manages to get those braids in such short hair.)

Meeting Pheobe - the bottle fed calf. (I asked Ollie where the mama was. Ollie replied, 'hamburger.' Piper took it all in stride, asking, 'where's her papa?')

'Assisting' with the bottle feeding twice a day nearly everyday.

Watching the many hummingbirds play around the feeders.

Looking cute in a new mama-made skirt with yet another snack in hand.

Playing in the rain. She requested to dance in the rain but settled for soccer instead.

I imagine by now you're sick of seeing more farming pictures. But its my retreat for many reasons. Something about being there, with extra help, extra love and not being responsible for the putting the food on the table makes me feel like a kid again/still.