Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Do You Have a Hat? by Eileen Spinelli
Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont
Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae
Where Is Bear? by Leslea Newman
Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field
Who Will Tuck Me In Tonight? by Carol Roth
So Many Bunnies: A Bedtime ABC and Counting Book by Rick Walton
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Sakes Alive! A Cattle Drive by Karma Wilson
The Clock Struck One: A Time-telling Tale by Trudy Harris
Duck series by Jez Alborough
I also just discovered this site where you can search for recommended kids' books on a variety of topics. If you have any titles to suggest for my 3-year-old son, I'd love to hear them!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
1. mini whisk--I prefer this style for mixing sauces, and think it's easier to clean than a regular whisk.
2. mini spatula--This was a gift from my Noel swap partner. I would never have thought to buy one of these, but it sure does come in handy for small containers!
3. silicone pastry brush--So much nicer than the old-school ones whose bristles cling together
4. pineapple slicer--Definitely has a learning curve, but nice for a quick slicing job
5. immersion blender--Recommended by my sister-in-law, this is my go-to for baby food, smoothies and other purees. It's easy to use and amazingly powerful!
6. metal skewers--No need to soak before making kebabs. Plus, there's no waste!
7. apple corer--So handy. Love it.
8. nut grinder--I know most people probably buy already-chopped nuts, but this is how I grew up doing it.
9. stainless steel scoop--I love this scoop for measuring sticky ingredients like shortening and peanut butter.
10. angled measuring cup--Certainly not a necessity, but I appreciate the convenience.
One item not on my list that I know a lot of other people love is this. It always makes my hand hurt when I use it. Maybe I press it too hard?!
What are some of your favorite kitchen tools?
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
*First, I have a couple cute Nathan stories to share. Nathan (aka Mr. Observant) recently learned what litter is. And as he is prone to do when he's learning about something, he points it out everywhere. I knew it was only a matter of time before he yelled "litter!" in front of an unsuspecting neighbor. Last week, he was riding his bike, and I was pushing Natalie in the stroller behind him. Sure enough, he saw a piece of newspaper on a lawn, and instantly announced its presence in front of the homeowner! Thankfully, the woman had a good laugh over it, rather than being offended. =)
After a recent sneeze, Nathan ran up to me asking for a tissue, saying he had just "bless you'd". He thought a sneeze was called a "bless you!" Funny.
I love her sweet expressions, and this outfit makes me smile. The darling dress and shoes belonged to my nieces, and Emily even wore the white sandals to our wedding!
*Several of you have written to ask about my dad. We are so grateful for your continued prayers for our family! My dad had a recent appointment, and learned that the treatment is still being effective. We praise the Lord for this! There are of course still concerns and challenges, but we are thankful for some good news in the midst of them. My dad is still training for a June marathon, and continues to have an amazing attitude!
Monday, April 5, 2010
When Carrie asked me to write a guest post on the subjects of hospitality and frugality, I knew I wanted to participate. My ramblings actually turned into two separate posts, and the first one can now be found here. I hope you'll check it out!
Friday, April 2, 2010
*The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule I'd heard of this book on a couple other blogs, but when I saw a copy at our local library, I thought it would offer welcome inspiration. The author is definitely more crafty and ambitious than I am, but I enjoyed reading about the activities and projects she does with her family. One of the things this book motivated me to do was to give "new life" to some tattered clothes. Natalie's not quite walking yet, and several pairs of her pants have holes in the knee area. Inspired by Soule's ideas for clothing reconstruction, my mom and I added cute patches to Tali's jeans:
Though not a book I would refer to often, TCF is a fun read and well-named, as it offers lots of creative ideas for families!
*Steady Days by Jamie C. Martin
After reading a review on Small Notebook, I made an unusually impulsive purchase and ordered this book on-line. The tagline of the book (and accompanying blog, Steady Mom) is "A journey toward intentional, professional motherhood." I love that!
One of Martin's encouragements to stay-at-home moms is to have a blueprint for your day and your children's day. As she says, "A successful teacher wouldn't show up to her classroom without a lesson plan. We wouldn't arrive for a busy day in the office without an idea of what we wanted to accomplish. Our lives at home are no different." She continues by writing that her motive in having a plan is not to control, but to give what's best to her children. "I care enough to plan ahead; I also know myself well enough to realize that without a plan I drift along, guided only by my feelings in the moment. That's not the most efficient or powerful way to live." I've been thinking about all of that a lot lately, and will likely share additional thoughts in a future post.
When Martin talks about being intentional, she means it. I am amazed at all the routines she has in place for recording special moments/memories, such as Learning Scrapbooks (lists of what is being learned and subjects to learn more about, education souvenirs and notes, etc.) and Look at Me Binders (containing special artwork, photos and handprints). She also keeps a file of index cards with encouraging quotes and verses (she calls them Steady Thoughts) to flip through during her busy days--what a great idea!
This book is divided into four compelling sections: getting organized, retaining enthusiasm, learning together and making memories. I'm glad I own this book and will continue to refer to it for inspiration!
*Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn
I happened onto this book during a rare trip to B&N, and after flipping through part of it, I dropped a (Christmas) hint to my mom that I was interested in reading more. =) This book is a wonderful resource! Eric teased me because I put flags on nearly 30 pages, highlighting lots of strategies to implement and recipes to try.
The first several chapters of the book offer great tips on meal planning and grocery shopping. These chapters end with lists of action points, which are baby steps for improving your budget and efficiency. Here are a few of the action point ideas listed in the grocery shopping chapter: refilling spices from the bulk food department*, making biscuits and cookies instead of buying them, buying and consuming less soda and chips, and stocking your freezer when getting meat on a good sale.
We have already tried quite a few of the recipes from this book, including the two entrees I posted here. One of the ideas I was most excited to discover: homemade coconut milk. I often use this ingredient in Thai recipes, and it never occurred to me that I could make a similar product at home! It's super easy, but I will say I preferred the end result when the milk was part of a peanut sauce, rather than a main ingredient. To make 2 cups, just combine 2 cups of boiling water with 1 cup of sweetened coconut. Let stand for 10 minutes, then combine with a blender. Can use as is or strain to remove coconut flakes.
*We don't have this option in our rural area, but I'm curious if any of you buy spices in bulk, and if you've found it to be a significant savings?
If you're looking for some meal planning inspiration, I would encourage you to look into this book!