Winter Evergreen Decorations

All of the Chistmas decorations have now been safely packed away. I was going to throw out the evergreen arrangements we made in early December but I decided they still look too good to toss. So, I have deemed them “Winter” decorations and they will be staying for awhile. My favorite thing about these arrangements was that all of the plant material came from our home farm.  The antique skates and sled we found at moms, we used them both when we were kids.  Yeah… think these arrangements will be hanging around for awhile….they make me smile!

 

 

 

nov 2012 008 (1024x765)

nov 2012 006 (1024x765)nov 2012 011 (765x1024)

DIY Canopy Doll Bed

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I thought I would share with you some of the projects we made for the kids for Christmas this year. This year The Handyman made Lego trays and and a canopy bed for Sunshines American Girl Doll. Some of the projects I worked on included the bedding for her AG doll bed, sleeping bags for all the kids (and dolls) and lots of doll clothes for Sunshine and Roses AG dolls.

Sunshine put a bed for her AG doll, Miracle, on her Santa list this year. Carolines Canopy bed from AG is very pretty but I wasnt feeling the $125.00 price tag. I also really like the Madeline bed from Pottery Barn Kids but it was still $108.00 with bedding and honestly, it didnt get that great of reviews. So I enlisted the help of the Handyman. I found this plan for a doll canopy bed on Ana Whites website which I loved and it looked alot like the PBK bed.

DIY PICS 007

DIY PICS 006 (1024x768)

The Handy man had some help from his friend Ron who has a wonderful woodshop that he has been so gracious to share on several occasions. They ended up making some modifications to the plan. (As is usually the case) I decided not to add the finials on top of the posts but they did add some detailing on the posts. They also changed the shape of the headboard and footboard some and I think it turned out beautifully.

I made the mattress with a piece of 2 inch foam from Joanne’s. The drapes were made from an unused sheer panel I had hanging around in the basement. Actually it was from our old house and I only had the scarf but not the panels for some reason. I finished the edges and used adhesive Velcro dots to attach them so she can remove them if she wants to. The pillowcase and bedspread were made from a piece of silver silk I had in my sewing room. I originally was going to make a comforter with a removable duvet cover but it ended us just being a one piece comforter instead. Maybe I can talk grandma into making her an actual quilt for her bed.

Needless to say, Sunshine was thrilled Christmas morning with Miracles new bed! The first thing she said was how much she loved it. The second thing she said was, “Could you make one just like this for me?” Ohhhh honey……….

Choosing Healthier Oils

Over the past few months I have spent a lot of time rethinking our families diet.  Both my family and the Handymans family have a long history of obesity and/ or  heart disease.  These are things I do not wish to pass on to our children. Conventional wisdom has called for a low-fat diet and physical activity as protecting against these diseases.  And while I agree on the physical activity, I have spent a lot of time researching different nutrition “philosophies” if you will.  While I am certainly no expert, what makes the most sense to me is a diet rich in  nutrient dense Real foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, eliminating artificial ingredients including sweeteners, avoiding chemicals and pesticides in our foods, limiting sugar (especially refined sugar) and incorporating healthy oils. I’ve also been doing some reading on the benefits of eating more fermented foods and raw dairy.  (I know scandalous, right)  I do almost all of our cooking from scratch so part of the fun has been modifying our favorite recipes as well as trying new ones. I love to cook and we all enjoy eating a little too much so part of the journey has also been changing the culture of food in our home, but more about that another day.  So, todays topic …choosing healthier oils.  

For me  this means using less of these (or rather eliminating)

nov 2012 032

Using more of this –

nov 2012 031

It has been easy to use coconut oil in place of the other oils for things like sauteing and frying, it has been a little more challenging to incorporate into baked items but here is one recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies that turned out really well.  I am also learning that coconut oil has lots a great uses outside of the kitchen as well.

So while these certainly would not qualify as a healthy snack, they were pretty yummy and it was my first attempt at baking with coconut oil, so I thought I would share it.

nov 2012 030

Chocolate Chip Cookies with coconut oil

1 cup coconut oil

3/4 c. brown sugar

3/4 c. white sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup ground pecans

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Cream coconut oil and sugars in mixing bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Sift together in another bowl flours, salt, ground pecans and baking soda.  Gradually add dry ingredients to mixing bowl, mixing just until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips. 

Spoon onto parchment covered cooking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for  9-10 minutes just until edges turn light golden brown.  Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to cooling rack. 

Makes approx. – 4 dozen 

These cookies have a wonderful soft chewy middle with a crisp edge.

New life for an old crib rail

While we were cleaning out the barn at moms a few weeks ago we found 2 old drop side cribs. As soon as I saw them I knew what I wanted to do with them. 

Several years ago we put in a wooden burning stove in our basement.  As our outdoor activities have increased we have made a habit of coming in and out the basement door near the stove. Consequently, lots of wet boots, coats and gloves also get deposited there. They end up hanging over chairs and wood piles, which isn’t the best for drying. So, I asked the Handyman to hang one of the side rails from the ceiling to allow clothes to be hung up near the stove. 

pics 071

The only hardware the Handyman had to buy was 4 eyebolts and 4 large hooks.  He put an eyebolt through each of the 4 corners of the crib rails and used chain we had to attach the rail to hooks he screwed into the floor joists.  This way during warmer and drier weather the rack can be moved up if we want. The hooks we are using are actually meant for hanging baskets but they work quite well.  Voila!  $10.00 in hardware and in less than an hour, you’ve got a super efficient drying rack while saving one more thing from the landfill. Yeah!

pics 070