Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Together Tuesday: *Egg*straordinary Art

It’s that time of year again – egg dyeing time! Sure, you can go out and buy those prepackaged kits to dye your eggs, and those can be tons of fun, but you probably already have so many items in your home already to use!
Food coloring or kool aid – add some vinegar to a cup of water, then add kool aid mix or food coloring (gel or liquid) and dye your eggs with that
Stickers – Adorn dyed or white eggs with stickers to create miniature works of art
Yarn – spread glue on a white or dyed egg and wrap lengths of colorful yarn around
Stamps – use stamps and ink to decorate one of a kind eggs
Crayons – melt crayons in muffin tins in your oven on a low temp. Use an old paintbrush to paint the wax onto the eggs in designs. You can then dye the eggs and the dye will only take where there is no wax, creating a marbled look.

* From Earth*School "Spring Fling"
Copyright 2004 - 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Munchies: Cheese Straws

Cheese straws are, in a word, awesome! I found the recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, last summer. It started out as an experiment with Kenna - we modified the recipe to omit the pepper and added garlic and garlic salt. They have quickly become a favorite of our family and we take them to every party/function we go to.


Cheese Straws
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

12 ounces grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 stick butter, softened and cut into pieces
1 1/2 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1-2 tablespoons garlic powder (depending on your taste)
1-2 tablespoons garlic salt (depending on your taste)
2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place all ingredients in your food processor and turn it on high, letting it mix together until a soft ball forms.
*Note - if you are using block cheese like I do, cut the block into a few pieces and whirl those in the food processor first to chop up. no need to shred it first!
3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut into strips. Transfer onto a greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake about 10-15 minutes (depending on length/size of your straws), until the ends start to brown/crisp a bit
5. The original recipe says to cool and serve t room temperature - they never last that long. Everyone in our family burns their mouths on these as soon as they come out of the oven!


When we made the cheese straws on Friday, Holden was quite excited to "invent a NEW cheese straw" ... he rolled up the dough into balls and flattened them out, creating crackers. You can also cut squares/rectangles for crackers. Any way you cut it, these are great. (I may or may not eat the raw dough as well, it is so good!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Spring at K&F!


K&F is celebrating spring today at noon est! Here is a sneak peak of some of the springy items in store for you!


Friday Favorite: Relic Soap Co

I love soap. Correction: I love cold processed artisan soap. At any given time, I have at least 2 dozen bars from various artisans in a rubbermaid box in the cabinet. I collect it. I get all giddy when the bar of soap in the shower is just about gone and I get to go into the box and choose another bar. (Yes, I realize I am a geek, and I am ok with that)


Karen at Relic Soap Co announced a sale last week and I knew I had to try her soap. While collecting the items for the International Women's Day giveaway we had over at the Team Hyena blog, my entire closet smelled amazing due to the soap package Karen had sent in for the giveaway. Every time I opened the closet door I got a whiff of her soap, so as soon as I heard about her special, I was all over it.


I started out going for the first special, order $20/soaps and get a free sustainable cedar soap dish - I have two gorgeous soap dishes from Rising Sun Earthworks, but I am afraid to put one in the shower because the soap is kept up high on the window ledge (above my head) and I am too paranoid that the soap dish would get knocked down and broken pottery is a big no-no! - so I figured this would be perfect to keep in the shower. So that was the plan, $20 in soap and a free cedar soap dish. Well, that didn't last long. I started reading the descriptions and scents and could not get by with jut 420 worth of soaps, so I went up to the next special, free shipping on orders of $40 or more (and we won't say how much more than $40 I spent ...)


When the box came Monday, the mail carrier told me that his whole truck "smelled pretty" now and he couldn't figure out what it was. I told him it was soap - he thought it was potpourri. The scents are incredible! Opening the box, I was struck by the packaging (above) - don't they look perfect? I love the little bags - it's like opening a little present every time I pull out a new soap! Karen had mentioned she was out of the bags and did I want to wait for them to come in or have her ship without them ... I said it didn't matter, whatever was easier for her. She waited because she said they look better and store better in the muslin bags. It was definitely worth an extra day or two of a wait!


I really love these soaps. The bars are huge. The scents are fantastic - not overpowering, but strong enough that they can be smelled and leave my skin smelling great. sometimes cold processed soaps can be hit or miss in the hardness area - a lot of times I will put a soap in the shower and it will be really soft and will disappear after a couple days use, but not these. The bars are nice and hard, they lather fabulously. No crumbling or melting away here! I will definitely be back for more (if the bars I just got every get used up! Maybe the no-melting away thing *isn't* so good ...). The above bar is my favorite so far - froth sea salt: lather-rich, just a little scrubby from the sea salt, smells great. I'm sold!

Want to try Karen's soap too? One of the items I bought was a buy one get one free pumpkin spice soap - so one is up for grabs to one lucky reader! To enter the free drawing, visit Relic Soap Co and post a comment here telling me which soap is your favorite. Additional entries for following my blog, fanning Holden's Landing on facebook, fanning Relic Soap Co on facebook, and/or blogging/tweeting/posting to your facebook page about the giveaway! just leave a separate comment here for each additional entry. Make sure there is a way for me to get in touch with you if you win. Winner will be chosen Thursday, April 1st (no fooling!!)

*Contest is now closed! Congratulations to our winner, comment #3 - Sami!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Together Tuesday: Egg Geodes

Today I am linking to a craft so cool that I cannot wait to do it with my kids!


Easter Egg Geodes from the "those northern skies" blog have to be the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. We love Easter egg decorating and are always looking for new ways to decorate our eggs, and since Holden and I are huge rock hounds, this could not be more perfect. We just finished growing some crystals on rocks last week - his is going to be a huge hit!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Munchies: Peanut Butter Bars

This is another of those recipes that is not really a recipe, but a method. I am notorious for baking/cooking with no measuring, and this is no exception. but trust me, you will want to try these out asap!


Into your food processor, toss some rolled oats, puffed rice cereal (the kind without sugar, not rice crispies, wheat germ, milled flax seed ... and whatever nuts, seeds, dried fruits you like. In the bars pictured, I used peanuts, dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, walnuts and almonds. I just toss in a handful of each. Add some honey and peanut butter and give it a whirl. You want the mixture to stick together without being too dry/crumbly, but you don't want it to be wet either. If it is to dry, add more honey and/or peanut butter until it sticks together. Spread into a greased baking dish. Melt your favorite chocolate and pour it over the top, tilting the dish to cover evenly. Set in the refrigerator (or freezer, if you are like me, and you can't wait to eat them), then cut into bars.


The best part of this recipe is that it can be easily adapted to anything you like! Holden always makes his own bars when I make a batch. The bars he made this weekend had peanuts, almonds, walnuts, apricots and rainbow sprinkles!

I'm so excited

and I just can't hide it! A few weeks ago, I went to my friend Joyce of Hillcountry Dollmaker with an idea for a new product. She was game, so I started up a prototype and sent it on over to her for her to finish up and send back.


I always have all these ideas churning around in my head, but I tend to have a *difficult* time getting anyone else to actually see what I am seeing in my head. But Joyce got it perfectly. I can't wait to do some more of these with her! This little guy will be up for sale at K&F this coming Friday at noon. Be on the look out for bunnies, elephants, fairies, mermaids ... and more ... in the coming months!



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Together Tuesday: Leprechaun Traps

* Leprechaun Traps
I have been making leprechaun traps with children for 10+ years and it is always an activity that they really love! The idea is a simple one, and one that is very compelling to children: leprechauns hide their gold and the only way you can find it is to catch one. If you catch a leprechaun he has to tell you where his gold is hidden. But leprechauns are very clever and very hard to catch (there in lies the compelling part, lol!).
Collect a wide variety of recycled materials, glue, tape, string, paper, paper cups, sticks, etc. for the leprechaun trap making. Then just let your child(ren)’s imagination take over. I have seen children build elaborate contraptions involving a cookie on a plate, a marble hitting a toilet paper tube, which rolls and hits a stick which falls over and drops a tissue (that was supposed to be a net), and I have seen more simple traps like a stick holding up a cup with crumbs underneath. But the process is always so much fun!
Keep your child’s leprechaun traps up overnight, and while s/he is asleep, set up the leprechaun treasure hunt activity in the math section!

Copyright 2004-2010 Earth*School
Bonnie E. Vontz
From: Late Winter Holidays

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spreading some sunshine!


Shannon from Gillyweeds spread some sunshine to me this morning! Thank you so much Shannon!

In turn, I am spreading the sunshine along to some of my favorite artisans and bloggers ... be sure to check them out!

Stuff Parents Need
Fair Trade Family
Handmade Success
Bootie Baby Blog
Nault's Nook
Beneath the Rowan Tree
Rising Sun Earthworks
Shauna Glenn
Barefoot Foodie
Pioneer Woman

Here are the Rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers
3. Link the nominees within your post
4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award

K&F is back

and better than ever! New artisans, a whole new look, and a new shop to boot! Here is a sneak peek of what is in store for you at noon est ♥



Friday Favorite: Pink Grapefruit Facial Scrub

I don't wear makeup. I am not a "fussy" type of person - I can be showered, dressed and ready to leave the house in 10 minutes. I am a "plain jane" as far as that goes. But there are certain items that I really can't live without. And this is one of them.


Mineralicious' Pink Grapefruit Facial Scrub

First of all, I have an obsession with all things that involve grapefruit or yuzu, and this smells incredible. It foams up nicely and is just the right amount of exfoliating. I use it daily on my face and I can always tell when I don't use it - my face just doesn't feel the same. I have really dry skin and this is wonderful for that. i originally found this product on hyena cart a few years back, but couldn't find it again. I searched and searched and tried every product I could find on hyena cart and etsy that had the words "facial scrub", "foaming" and "pink grapefruit" in the title ... and I didn't care for any of them. Then about a year and a half ago, I was matched with a friend in a bath and body product swap on hyena cart, and she managed to find this again for me and I have never looked back!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Theme Thursday: Out of the Ocean


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Together Tuesday: St. Patrick's Day Craft

You may not find a real pot of gold this St. Patrick’s Day, but at least you can have a pot of gold candle holder on your nature table or dining room table! For each candle holder you will need a clean baby food jar with the label removed, or a small canning jar, black tissue paper torn into small pieces, gold, yellow or orange tissue paper torn into small pieces, a paintbrush, decoupage medium or watered down tacky glue and a tea light candle. Coat the mouth of the jar with glue and adhere the gold (or yellow or orange) tissue paper pieces to resemble gold peeking out of the pot. You will need more than one layer, so once the first layer is down, spread more glue and add another layer. Once your gold is finished, cover the rest of the jar with glue and add the black tissue paper in the same fashion. Let dry thoroughly then add your tea light. When the tea light is lit, the flame will make the gold in your pot shine brightly!
copyright 2004-2010 Earth*School, Bonnie Vontz

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Munchies: Salad!

If asked, I would have to say that next to insanely dark chocolate, my favorite food is salad. I could live on salad (and the aforementioned chocolate). I'm not talking about some iceberg lettuce with a couple of cherry tomatoes tossed in there. Take a look ...


The next time you are making a salad, try mixing it up with any/all of the following:

* Greens - my favorite is a mix of the spring mix lettuces and baby spinach
* Fruit - apple wedges, sliced pear, blueberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries, orange/tangerine wedges, grapes, kiwi slices
* cheese - cubes (my favorites for salad are sharp cheddar, parmesan, asiago and sharp provolone); soft cheeses (my favorites for salads are feta and blue cheese); marinated mozzarella; shredded cheese (parmesan and cheddar are my favorites for shredded)
* veggies - sliced peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, beets (I especially like pickled beets), grilled asparagus, artichoke hearts
* proteins - hard boiled egg wedges, a scoop of cottage cheese, diced cold chicken, shrimp, fish
* beans/nuts - sliced almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, chick peas, kidney beans

This was my breakfast this morning: spring mix lettuces, red bell peppers, carrots, apple, bartlet pear, cheddar and provolone cubes, marinated mozzarella, strawberry slices, tangerine wedges, sliced almonds and walnut halves

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Favorite: Doodles Jewels

Danielle from Doodles Jewels has to be one of my all time favorite artisans. I have a weakness for gorgeous stone necklaces and Danz keeps me very well supplied. I own about 3 dozen of her pieces, each one more beautiful than the next.


Valentine's Day weekend we went away for a romantic weekend (A and me, not Danz and me :P) and of course, I had to wear one of my gorgeous Doodles Jewels creations ... which I put in my backpack when I took it off and then dropped it somewhere! Probably on the beach in the 30 mile an hour frigid wind gusts. I was devastated! The first thing I did when we got home was message Danz and ask if i could have her make me a new one ... and she obliged! I adore working with Danz - her creativity and vision when it comes to jewelry knows no bounds. Her eye is amazing. Her jewelry is built to last (unless, like me, you drop it somewhere and can't remember where - I don't recommend this) and her customer service is impeccable. She has some gorgeous pieces instock right now, pieces that I am trying very hard to resist splurging on ...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Theme Thursday: Cloth Diaper Accessories


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Together Tuesday: Tactile Fingerpainting

Is it snowy or rainy where you are? Are your little ones starting to go a little stir crazy? In that case, it's time to break out the finger paints!

Fingerpainting is a great activity for children. Regular fingerpainting makes for a nice tactile experience, but add some different textures and little hands will have a blast! Try fingerpainting on a variety of textures: tin foil, bubble wrap, sand paper, wax paper, fabric, wood, etc. Or try fingerpainting on regular paper, but add some tactile elements to the fingerpaints - rice, flour, glitter, cornmeal, sand, etc.

From Earth*School: "The Five Senses"
Copyright 2004-2010, Bonnie E. Vontz

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Munchies: My Favorite Almond Biscotti

I have been using this recipe since way back in 2001, when, in a previous life, I was a Kindergarten teacher/early childhood facility director. Every year, we would have a holiday cookie swap and I would put together a recipe book for all the families to take home. Erin and Colin A.'s mom sent in her almond biscotti and the accompanying recipe and I have made it ever since.



2T butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2t almond extract
2 1/4 flour
1 1/2t baking powder
1/4t salt
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 egg white

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a baking sheet.
2. In a bowl, beat together butter, sugar, eggs (not egg white) and extract until
3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and almonds.
4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture mixing to form a dough.
5. Divide dough into two balls, making each into a flattish log about 10-12" long
and 2" wide.
6. Brush each log with egg white and back about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
7. Remove from oven and slice diagonally into 3/4" wide slices. Arrange cut side
down and return to oven (turned down to 300 degrees) for 10 min. Turn and bake
an additional 10 minutes.