Tuesday, November 24, 2015


We spread Thanksgiving out the week before, and the 3 days the week of.  We spent a lot of this time cleaning out the house, something I do with a vengeance every year just before I pull out the holiday decorations.

Monday - playgroup.  We had our Thanksgiving pot luck dinner and we decorated cupcakes.  Somebody *really* liked the cranberry sauce!


It was fun, and when do kids with food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances ever get to decorate cupcakes?!?

Tuesday - baking day.  The first Tuesday, we made corn muffins and shook up cream FOREVER to make our own butter.  Ana shook the first 15 seconds and the last 15 seconds - she was quite proud of herself when she opened the jar and saw she had shaken the cream up into butter! She promptly drank all the buttermilk.

The second Tuesday, we made carrot soup.  It wasn't what I had planned;this was Ana's idea.  I've been telling the story of Hugin's Carrot, and the last line of the story is "and Hugin made carrot soup".  Ana stood up and said "Ok" and walked into the kitchen.  When I asked where she was going, she said "I making a carrot soup, just like Hugin does!".  So off we went to make carrot soup for lunch.

I think she just wanted to use the peeler.  It is her current favorite kitchen gadget.

And spices - she is obsessed with adding large amounts of spices to everything.  Her favorite food is "'picy salad" - a mix of kale, cabbage, and lettuce into which goes a huge amount of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cajun spice, pepper, garlic salt, dill, and parsley.  She eats it daily. 


Considering we used no recipe and just threw into the pot what we had in the fridge, the soup was surprisingly tasty! It made a nice lunch paired with the leftover bread from our Thanksgiving dinner. 

"Recipe" for carrot soup:
Peel and cube several carrots and place in a stockpot.  We had probably a pound and a half, orange, yellow, white, and 1 purple.   Add one diced onion.  Add spices - Ana put them all in so nothing was even remotely measured, but we used freshly ground pepper, salt, garlic salt, parsley, thyme, and dill.  Add water to just cover the carrots and bring to a  boil, them simmer until the carrots are tender.  Add broth; I used chicken bone broth because that's what I had in the freezer.  It was probably a cup and a half.  Puree the carrot and broth mixture; I used our nutribullet for this.  Add cream or milk, rewarm if necessary.  It was the perfect temperature for Ana and Meems with the addition of the cream. 

Wednesday - Painting day.  Autumn colors in liquid watercolor, which I later cut into leaf shapes for our thankful tree.

Thursday - Sensory/Tactile.  We made pumpkin pie playdough.  I've recently discovered that you can add cornstarch to relatively anything and end up with playdough.  So we mixed together a can of pumpkin puree with cornstarch and pumpkin pie spice, and broke out the pumpkin cookie cutters.  The whole house smelled delicious!

Friday - Craft day.  We made handprint turkeys.  These are the start of a calendar's worth of handprint art that we are working on for Tata for Christmas.

And, of course, we had to set up our Thanksgiving nature tables this week! 




Martinmas has to be my favorite of the festivals. The cold, crisp night air, the smell of beeswax candles, a bonfire ... and the spirit of helping others. 

Monday - We had our playgroup here in the evening.  We started with a pot luck dinner, which everyone shared, in honor of St Martin.  Once it was dark, we lit our lanterns (with real candles this year!) and took a walk through the driveway.  We ended with a bonfire in the backyard with s'mores and other yummy chocolate desserts.


Tuesday - Baking day.  Tuesday was the day before Martinmas, so Ana and I started to get ready.  We made some gluten free horseshoe cookies

Holden and I worked on some beeswax lanterns that night, once the littles went to bed. They came out beautifully.  Our balloons were a little too big so they are more like candle bowls than lanterns, but we really enjoyed making them and the are beautiful all lit up!

Wednesday - Painting day.   We didn't paint this week; instead we added another baking day to get our Martinmas dinner ready for that night.  Ana had a lot of fun making gluten free weckmenn (which was very yummy!!)


Our holiday dinner consisted of the traditional "goose" (which for us was roasted chicken - Holden and Kenna would never eat goose if I tried to make it!), winter squash, salad, weckmenn, and horseshoe cookies for dessert.  We ate by candlelight (with the lights on dim after candles started almost getting knocked over - candlelight dinner with 4 kids is not an easy task!)

Thursday - Sensory/tactile day.  We rolled and decorated beeswax candles today.


  Ana is a little young for this for sure, but she enjoyed it.

Friday - craft day.  I had planned on painting some fabric to make a blanket today, but Ana had other plans.  She requested lots of books and snuggle time, so that's what we did ♥

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bears & Owls

This has been my favorite week yet! Our cornerstone books this week were "Bear Snores On"and "Little Owls' Night". 

The best thing about this week is our new bear cave.

I happened to see something like this on pinterest Sunday, so I went through the house looking for boxes big enough, but we didn't have any.  We did have display boards though.  2 black display boards for the cave, 1 additional white one, cut up for the back and cave front, half a roll of kraft paper, and almost an entire roll of packing tape later, we had this!

It is surprisingly sturdy.  It has stood up to not only Ana, Meems, and Holden, but 2 weeks in a row  now of playgroup craziness. We spent much of the week curled up in there reading bear books.  It is big enough that mama and Ana can fit in together.  But it is coziest with a big pillow and warm blanket.

Monday - Playgroup.  We began our Martinmas preparations this week by making lanterns for our lantern walk next week. 

Tuesday - Baking day.  What else but honey cookies?

Even better ... honey cookies shaped like bear and his woodland friends!

We also made some honey nuts in preparation for our bear snores on party.  These were delicious and so simple.  We just mixed some local honey into a bowl of peanuts and almonds, spread them into a pan, sprinkled with sea salt and roasted on 450 for a few minutes.  

Wednesday - Painting day.  Night sky finger painting.  Blue, black, and purple paints, and a large sheet of heavy watercolor paper

Mama didn't check the glitter container - the wrong side of the lid was open! LOTS of glitter!!

Later in the week, once it was dry, Ana added some shimmery star stickers to the painting.  They didn't stick where there was glitter, which was almost everywhere.  

Thursday - Sensory/Tactile day.  I had one project in mind, Ana had another.  

I made night sky dough.   I loved it.  Ana enjoyed it as well, but not as much as I had hoped. 


Holden and I have been working with clay all week.  He's been sculpting some characters and I've been making Christmas ornaments.  So Ana didn't want super cool night sky playdough - with glitter! -  she wanted clay.  We broke out the woodland animal cookie cutters again and she made a bunch of clay animals that we'll paint when dry and use for Christmas ornaments this year. 


Friday - Bear Snores On party!

They popped white corn and they brewed black tea ...


Monday - Playgroup.  We had out Halloween party this week.  We had a trick or treat treasure hunt, where the kids found hidden treasures likes tattoos and Halloween ducks.  We made cinnamon apples and "everything free" caramel (our playgroup has members with gluten, dairy, corn, soy, egg, shellfish allergies, and vegan members - even still, we cook a lot and make some really delicious things!). 

Tuesday - Baking.  We broke out the cookie cutters for Halloween sugar cookies!


I used a vegan coconut flour recipe so that Meems could play with the dough too.   I can't remember where the recipe is originally from, and I've tweaked it a little bit  Recipe is below. 

Wednesday - Painting day.  We painted a pumpkin.

Or, at least, that's how we started.  



Thursday - Sensory/Tactile day.   I made a new rice box for this week.  Black and orange rice (super simple - toss rice with liquid watercolor or food coloring in a ziplock bag, then spread out to dry), with various scoops and spoons, and some Halloween cookie cutters. 

Friday - Craft day.  We did another resist painting today, this time, a spiderweb.

We've had a lot of fun in circle time this week with song/story sets we've gotten in Halloween swaps this year and last.  We sang "Three Little Ghosts", and "5 Little Pumpkins", and told the story of "The Little Hobgoblin". 

Ana is surprisingly good at puzzles, for not quite 2 1/2.  These she needed a little help with.

and we had to get in some Halloween bowling as well!

Coconut Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup coconut milk
2t vanilla
3/4 cup white rice flour (Bob's Red Mil 1:1)
1/3 cup coconut flour
2T tapioca starch
1/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1t xanthan gum

Mix everything together.  Roll into balls or cut with cookie cutters and place on a baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Tops will brown slightly.