Friday, October 10, 2014

LITTLE VIGNETTES: Command Center

 
Our new house is set up completely differently from our old one, so arranging our things to best suit us was a challenge. We're in a place now that feels functional, comfortable, and stylish. I'll be showing you little peeks of little spaces here, and they all be filed under "little vignettes"!
 
 

Our staircase comes out into a hallway; one way goes to the front door, the other to the main living space. There is an odd corner in this hall, and that's where I've set up our "command center." 


The biggest piece is the kids chore chart. On a large, framed cork board, each kid has a list of chores they have to do and check off daily. We don't pay the kids for these chores; they have to do these things because they live here. It's basic things like making beds, dishes in the sink, clothes in the hamper. While they don't get paid for doing them, they do earn their media tickets for week days by getting everything done. No chores, no media.
We also have a "work for hire" section to the chore board. This is where they can earn money. There are four chores each week and each one is worth $2. The money goes up Friday and they have the opportunity to earn it at their pace. But, if chores aren't done and I have to do them, the money becomes mine. This idea was a Pinterest inspiration, of course.
 

Above that is this neat clip board (it was a gift, but I think it's from World Market). I keep school paper, activity papers, and A+ spelling tests up here.
 

I love this huge white board calendar. The spaces are big enough for our schedule, there is space for notes, and it's magnetic.
 

 
And finally, our family rules are posted and the utmost important clock to tell us we are running late, again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

THE BASICS: HOMEMADE BROWN SUGAR

 
Sometimes, in the kitchen, magic happens. You mix two ingredients and BOOM. You've made something you never thought was possible to make on your own. It's science, it's magic, it's both.
 
That's how I felt when I found the recipe for brown sugar in the Joy the Baker Cookbook. I figured that brown sugar was a process that was only going to happen at the sugar factory. In fact, it is a simple process of mixing two sugar products-white, granulated sugar and molasses-into one another. 
 
 

 
One cup of sugar to one tablespoon of molasses.
 
 
We mix.
 
 
Soft, sticky, sweet brown sugar. Making cookies better, I promise.
 
I've stopped buying brown sugar at the store. I keep a bottle of unsulfured molasses in the house and just make up a cup or two at a time and store it in an airtight container in the cupboard. One bottle of molasses makes a ton of brown sugar. It tastes better and saves money. Win/win.
 
 

Homemade Brown Sugar

 
Mix 1 cup of granulated cane sugar with 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses with a fork. As the sugar and molasses combine, it will appear clumpy and sticky. Keep going! Don't give up! Continue stirring until sugar is light brown in color and fluffy. For dark brown sugar, add another tablespoon of molasses.
 
Enjoy!



Thursday, September 4, 2014

FRONT PORCH CHALKBOARD


In our new neighborhood, fixing up your front porch is a big deal. Kids play outside together a lot in our neighborhood and parents sit out front and talk. It has an old fashioned, small town feel. We wanted our porch to be useful, comfortable, and pretty. We when we first arrived, there were no flowers out front, so while we waited a week for our furniture to arrive, we planted some shrubs and flowers, and the kids each chose a bird feeder as well. We already had the flag, the metal chicken (silent auction win!), and the vintage Coca-Cola chairs and table. It was all looking pretty nice but basic, so I decided to put out a welcome chalkboard sign.
 

The chalk board used to be inside our old house, but I couldn't find the right spot for it in our new place. But it looks super cute on the porch. I like the idea of changing it throughout the season. Just the right little extra for front porch sittin'.
 

Also, this cuteness helps.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

SCENES FROM A CROSS COUNTRY ROAD TRIP

 
 
The Sierras.
 
 
Nevada Sky.
 
 
 The Great Salt Lake.
 
 
Sven the Reinder in Utah.
 
 
Dinosaur Land.
 

Dinosaur National Park//Future Scientist
 
 
Wyoming.
 
 
 Hello, Mr. Presidents.
 
 
 
Over 100 miles of advertising for Wall Drug deserved a shop.
 
 
Hotel life is cartoons with breakfast.
 
 
 Alpacas in Iowa.
 
 
There were lots of French fries on this trip.
 
 
Home stretch.
 
Arrival!
 
Details of places we saw and things we did to come!

Monday, July 14, 2014

PEACHY KEEN SMOOTHIES

 
 
This past weekend, Ava and I headed to Farmer's Market to pick up some fruit. There is a severe drought going on in Northern California and it's hit small farmer's hard. The stands were few and far between as farms try to beat the heat/lack of water. But the peach seller we always buy from was there, handing out free samples and selling glorious yellow and white peaches. I bought 2 1/2 pounds of them. And then I got home and remembered we are moving-very, very soon-and I need to use up our food, not buy more and waste it. So this morning I whipped up a big batch of smoothies with those delicious peaches. These smoothies are both dairy free and vegan and the perfect, EASY breakfast on a hot July morning.
 

Peachy Keen Smoothies

makes 2 large servings
 
2 large peaches, pitted and sliced
1 banana (fresh or frozen), sliced
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup of water
3-5 ice cubes.
 
Add all ingredients together in a blender. Blend and serve. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

READING LIST: MISS RUMPHIUS

 
Just what do we want out of our lives? For Alice Rumphius, she wants to travel the world and then live by the sea. As she explains this as a child, sitting on her grandfather's knee, he tells her that there is one more thing that she must do. She must make the world more beautiful. She agrees.
 
But how?
 
 

 
The book, by Barbara Cooney, is beautifully illustrated, of course. But the story- the simple story of choosing your course and following it, of fulfilling promises made, of leaving the world a little more lovely then when you came in to it, is just as beautiful.



 
Because of course, Miss Rumphius finds a way.



And passes it on.
 

 
 
Because shouldn't all great things be passed on? Like this book, that was my childhood favorite and is now my daughter's. A little thing perhaps. But I've maybe made her world more beautiful by sharing this book.