August 4, 2015
by jenny
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Egg Muffins

More in my quest for protein, I’ve made a few batches of egg muffins this summer.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spray a muffin tin, and fill it however you want. It takes about 15-20 minutes to cook. I’ve put in bread, bacon (we like crispy bacon, so I park-cooked the bacon), cheese, more cheese, sausage, onions, and poured on freshly cracked eggs, beaten eggs and egg beaters. Store extras in the fridge. We’ve successfully enjoyed them warm, cold (especially good with a little Frank’s Hot Sauce), and reheated. These are easy, make a nice snack and would make great additions to a lunch box!

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July 30, 2015
by sarah
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Ball vs. Nest

Jenny and I both love being outdoors. We enjoy being in the woods and living close by to nature. Our homes get visited by lots of critters and we mostly like it that way. I try nicely to convince some critters not to visit. Sometimes for our comfort and sometimes for theirs. I try to keep the deer away to limit the ticks in the yard and so they won’t eat my plants. I encourage most birds to visit. We have a small tree near our front door that has a perfect fork in the branches for a nest. Such a comfy spot, but always getting interrupted by our playing in the yard and coming in and out of the door. We thought we solved the problem by putting a ball in the tree. Recently a robin has worked the ball into her architectural plan. She leaves the nest as soon as the front door is open. We shall see what happens when the babies are born.

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July 24, 2015
by jenny
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Chocolate Chip Muffins with Protein Powder

We spend a LOT of time together in the summer, with this comes lot of bickering and arguing. When the bickering and arguing turns to incessant fighting, many times it’s because at least one person needs a snack. I’ve been trying work more protein into their snacks.

I’ve been experimenting with adding protein powder to different recipes. Rice Krispy Treats with protein powder went over well for me, my son and some of our friends, but wasn’t received well by my daughters. No one noticed it in pancakes, and I stopped myself from adding it to coat french toast. Chocolate Chip Muffins with Protein Powder was a unanimous hit for all of my kids (and their friends)! So I made them again and wrote down the recipe to share.

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I’ve been using Orgain Vanilla Protein Powder (amazon affiliate link) . I like it better than some that I have tried. I don’t like artificial sweetener taste, and my kids can’t stand the grittiness a lot of powders add to smoothies. The amount of powder you put into recipes will depend on your tastes, goals and the formulation of the protein powder of your choice. You may need to add more liquid (and can probably cut out some sugar) if you want to add more.    Don’t quote me on this, but I figure each muffin in this recipe packs about 7 grams of protein from the protein powder, plus a little more from other ingredients, which is more than a hard boiled egg. It comes with sugar content, but not bad when they ask to eat a couple in a sitting!

Chocolate Chip Muffins with Protein Powder

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips + more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 cup vanilla (or chocolate) protein powder [I used Orgain Vanilla Protein Powder (amazon affiliate link)]

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, grease muffin tin, or prepare silicon muffin cups.
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  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, protein powder and 3/4 cup chocolate chips in medium sized mixing bowl (or stand mixer). Add milk, oil and egg  into the flour mixture and stir until just uniform. Don’t over mix.
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  3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops of muffins with some extra chips.
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  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack (freeze for later!) or eat them warm.
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July 21, 2015
by jenny
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Mushroom Hunt

I don’t know much about mushrooms, but I can tell you I had an awesome time spotting them. I can see how mushroom foraging would be an addictive hobby for me. Besides the first picture (taken last month), these fungi were all spotted and photographed from the sidewalk with my iPhone over two days while walking my dog walk around my neighborhood. There are plenty more out there, and many larger. Does anyone forage and eat wild mushrooms?

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July 20, 2015
by jenny
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Squishy Egg

I mentioned that I wanted to do the dissolving the egg shell experiment this summer. I remember it being cool as a kid, so we tried it. As a parent, it’s just as cool for the same reasons I thought that it was as a kid (hard egg to squishy water balloon like egg!), but also cool because there is pretty much no set up, no mess and the materials are on hand!

The acetic acid in the vinegar dissolves the calcium carbonate that makes up the egg shell. The reaction releases carbon dioxide bubbles. It only takes a day or two.

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Materials:

  • an egg or two (we used a raw and a hard boiled egg, throw two raw in if you have two kids!)
  • glass or jar for each egg
  • vinegar (white distilled is easiest to see)

Directions:

  1. Place the egg(s) in the jar(s). Cover with vinegar. Let sit for 24-48 hours.
  2. The end! Take it out and play with it.

 

The shell is just dissolving off.

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Careful!

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Squish… Squish…

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POP!

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Peeled hard boiled egg with no work involved.

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July 15, 2015
by sarah
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Beach carry hack

Thought I would share the hack I stumbled upon yesterday. This is how you get a very tired three year old from the beach to the car – when you have to carry other things. image

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July 13, 2015
by sarah
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More Rocks

imageWe are very lucky to be able to spend much of our summer on a beach some where. Usually beaches come with rock and shell collecting. My family’s rock collecting varies. The younger ones are not picky about their choices. My son likes the combination rocks (I’m sure there is a more technical geological term) the rocks that are a mix of texture and color. I like the smooth lucky rocks. The ones with the stipe all the way around. Here is our collection so far this summer.

Last summer I posted about melting-crayon-rocks.

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July 1, 2015
by sarah
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Basil

We are big fans of pesto in this house.  In the summer I try to maximize the growth of my basil plants to hopefully produce enough to freeze. This spring I saw a post about producing roots from a cut steam of basil. It has been very successful. Simply cut a piece off the original plant, stick it in a clear glass of water, and wait. The rooted steams have transitioned very nicely outside to the veggie garden.

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June 30, 2015
by sarah
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Eric Carle Museum Stamps

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I have always wanted to go to the Eric Carle Museum. The fact that it is an hour and a half away from us kept the day trip out of reach for me. Until last week! I thought that the first week of summer vacation was the perfect time. Camps haven’t started yet, I have energy, the kids are still friends with one another…

It was worth the trip. I recruited my mom to come, which made the drive more bearable. My littlest loved it because she is the perfect age for Eric Carle books and my big boy wasn’t totally over Eric Carle yet. I loved looking at his original collages, where you could see all the layers of paint and paper that he used to compose the butterfly or cricket.

The museum has very nice exhibits, a wonderful shop that has the best of the best children’s books, and it has a big art studio with authentic projects using good supplies.

The day we were there they were making stamps.

Eric Carle Museum Stamps

Supplies

  • Foam Insulation (1 inch thick or more)
  • Foam sticker sheets
  • ink pad
  • paper

Directions

  1. Cut the foam insulation into 3 inch x 3 inch squares.
  2. Cut the foam sticker sheets into the shape you want for your stamp.
  3. Peal off the back of the foam sticker.
  4. Adhere to the foam insulation block.
  5. Use as stamp with the ink pad. EC stamp4 EC stamp3 EC stamp2

Other posts about Eric Carle: Eric Carle Prep

 

 

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June 25, 2015
by jenny
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Visiting The Farm

Last week I did something I’ve always wanted to do. I visited my CSA farm. This has been on my summer bucket list for a few years.

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We have had farm shares from farms where the food was grown in the past so it was easy to see where the food was coming from, but our current farm share comes from a farm an hour and a half west of us and is delivered to a nearby drop off point each week. The farm often sends out invitations for shareholder days with music, picnics, help weeding and whatnot. They also invite shareholders to visit and help themselves (within a set limit) to a selection of pick-your-own choices depending on what is ripe. I’ve always wanted to check out the farm and I’m even more tempted when our favorites show up on the pick-your-own list. But no one else in my house is ever interested and we’ve never gone. I have two kids who are great on car rides, but have a tendency towards car sickness, and we’ve just never had a whole summer day (or spring or fall) that we want to spend in the car.

Until last week, when I did have a day. Sort of. I woke up on the first day of no spring sports and wanted to go and blew off a few things I probably should have been doing. My easily nauseous kids were already planning to go early morning fishing with my husband. My tween daughter agreed it would be an okay adventure for us to take the drive, especially because strawberries were ripe and included in the pick-your-own and she is a strawberry fan, and even more especially because her BFF was awake and interested in the last minute trip and they had some matchmaking game they had been playing and wanted to continue.

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The ride was nice. The weather and picking excellent. We ran into two people – much easier than the crowds at our local pick your own strawberries, not to mention the strawberries were organic and included in our farm share so seemed “free.” My companions were happy and amiable (I did listen to an audiobook with headphones on the drive while they did whatever they do in the backseat).

Most importantly, I took the time for myself and knocked that adventure off my personal bucket list and now I can say I know where our food comes from.

As a bonus, my middle came down with a case of the end of school transitions and took a mental health day from school and helped me make and can jam the next day (Happy Father’s Day, Papa!)

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Have you visited your CSA farm or gone strawberry picking yet this year?

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