Tuesday, September 13, 2011

our new homeschool room

With new school year comes a new classroom!!! Today we started our new homeschooling year and we are so excited about it. Both boys tested on kindergarten level, so we will be focusing on a higher level than we originally planned. Tuptus has been reading level 1 books with no problem and he calls (my favorite) BOB books "not-the-real-books". Adi has a great imagination, drawing and building things out of blocks and Legos. I think we are on a great way to a great year.
So take a look at our new place ;-)

We have a limited space only in our basement with very little natural light. We still make it work.

My favorite art corner!!!

Our bulletin board serves as an inspirational corner for the kids. Also to remind them what we are learning about. 

This is where our new giant black board will be. I hope I will have time soon to paint this green wall black all over. 

And this is how it looks now. The kids love it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

you can make your own granola

... and here is how!

you will need:

4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts
half cup brown sugar


Now you need some liquid ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons 100% maple syrup

(There was a lesson about liquid density for my kids. They were absolutely amazed by this. They kept stirring and stirring and it would not mix. They loved it!)


 Then put the granola onto a baking pen and bake for about at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Pull it out, turn over and bake it for 5 minutes longer.

 Display it in a glass jar for some cute kitchen decoration!

Monday, August 01, 2011

cooking from my garden - shish kabob and organic quinoa

I am back from my vacation, very happy to be home but missing those I love overseas. Being back home means that I am back in my kitchen! And seeing my garden just beaming with life I can't help but pick some crop everyday and try to incorporate it into my menu. Here is our dinner!

If you have your own garden, this is the best time to make a use of it! Here is what I picked:

cherry tomatoes
red beats (boiled and peeled)

Then I spiced up some organic chicken thighs. I used:

garlic salt
oregano (my all time favorite spice for grilled chicken)

The kids helped fill up the skewers with the ingredients (which helped them practice pattern as well ;-))

At this point I started to boil the quinoa according to instructions.

I placed the shish kabobs on a grill and after about 4 minutes I rotated them.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

look at the world through your children's eyes

"Mommy!" I heard T calling from his room. It was past his bedtime and I was wondering what he came up with this time.
Everytime I close the door there is at least one thing he requests just to stretch the hour. And like always, I dragged my feet to his room thinking 'now what?' After the whole day I just can't wait to quickly finish cleaning the kitchen and just do whatever I WANT TO DO!
I walked in and saw T sitting in his bed. I can find him there in a complete dark but that's not necessary because there is a night light in his room. He is afraid to sleep in the dark so daddy bought him this beautiful mosaic guarding angel night light that keeps his dreams free of monsters.
"What do you need, honey? It's past your bedtime," I said to him when I kneeled by his bed.
"Please, mommy take the dragon away! It's scary," he said in his soft quiet voice.
I looked around the room, searching for a shadow that looks like a dragon, that's keeping my son awake but I couldn't find it.
"What dragon?" I asked.
"The one that lives in our castle."
I still don't understand what he means. Do we have a dragon living in our house?
"Look mommy, over there," T points his finger towards his wooden castle by the opposite wall.
I look that way and I see his toy dragon just sitting in its usual spot, the castle tower.
"Honey, that's just your dragon toy."
"But mommy it looks very scary. I don't want it there," T says with his whinny voice.
At first I still don't understand what's so scary about this small rubber dragon. I lay down next to T, ready to comfort him. Then I look towards the dragon...
And there it is:

The terrible beast with giant mouth full of sharp teeth and fire. 
And here comes mommy, the knight in shining armour, to save my little prince! 
"Don't worry! I will take care of the beast!" I say as I pick up the dragon from his usual spot and hide him inside the castle. T falls asleep almost immediately. 
This reminded me to look at things through my children's eyes. Sometimes the things they see, don't look the same way we see them. They look at the world with different eyes... and from a different angle. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lilac Jelly

Who doesn't enjoy the smell of spring? Right now our lilacs are blooming and it feels like spring festival! I recently read a blog entry about lilacs being edible and actually delicious in muffins and jelly. I looked up the recipe (on this lovely blog www.roscommonacres.com ) and here you go: 

You will need:

4 cups of lilac
4 cups of water
8 cups of sugar
juice from one lemon
and 2 boxes of pectin

After you pick the lilac, separate the blooms from the green part and place into a glass bowl.

 Boil the water, pour over the lilac, and cover it with lid. Let it sit for 24 hours until your lilac infusion is ready.

Using colander, strain the lilac into a pot and discard the blooms.

Add lemon juice and pectin and bring the mixture to boil.

Look at the color! Nothing I expected!
Add sugar and bring to boil. Boil for one minute.
Now it's ready to be skimmed and put into jars. 

After tasting it, I thought it was on the sweeter side, so next year I will experiment with no pectin recipes. I am pretty sure that will make a difference. In the mean time, you can put less sugar... or simply put less jelly on your toast. That's what I have been doing. I really like the taste of this jelly!

Monday, May 02, 2011

menu for this week

Here is some inspiration for this week...


Mongolian Beef, Rice, and Broccoli
Spinach/Strawberry Salad with homemade Strawberry Dressing


Chicken Tortilla soup
Cheese Quesadilla with homemade Avocado dip and salsa


Chicken Tortilla soup (left over from last night)
Grilled chicken breast, Mashed potatoes


Homemade Hamburgers, Fries


Homemade Pizza
Spring salad

bon appetit!!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

to simplify my life

I decided that I will connect my two blogs into one. See, I am trying to simplify my life and having two blogs is just confusing. Therefor, from now on I will be writing on this blog everything that I like to talk about and I will see where things lead me to. 

My other blog is about one of my biggest passions - homeschooling! From now on I will be also posting things that relate to that topic, such as projects, interesting facts, photos, and reflections on life in the busy day in our "classroom".  After all, we are chasing butterflies everyday over here! ;-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fun place for my little boy!

I was very happy to read Jen's blog and find an opportunity to link to her little party of room tours. Today is the "Boy's room tour" and I am showing my son's room that I put together with many of his suggestions as you will see. Everything, except for the bed and curtains, has been freecycled to me by my friends! THANK YOU! 
Here we go:

As you can see, we are in between themes. I am in denial that this room should be updated... because of two reasons - not only do I not want to admit that my little T is growing up, but also I don't feel like painting and rearranging furniture and organizing etc...

so right now we are in between "The Cars", "Pirates", and "Star Wars"... I have a feeling that I should go more with the Space/Star Wars theme. After all he is writing songs about the Planets right now and he is teaching his girlfriend how to fight with a lightsaber in her Snow White costume...

When I was pregnant with T (almost 5 years ago) I had all this time on my hands - the one I don't know about these days - and I painted his room full of these cute animals. Soon, the time will be here, to paint over my little masterpiece. Sigh

Easter Bunny brought T the Star Wars wall stickers. If I knew I will be exhibiting his room just couple days later, I would wait with putting them up... but then again would I? He just couldn't wait to peel those stickers off that paper and place them on his walls...

There used to be a crib under those giraffes. It was a perfect spot! Someone told me that T must be happy to sleep there as it looks like two huge breasts looking at him from above. Not intentional... That made me laugh.

I wish my hubby read my blog... Those drawers are broken and maybe he would have fixed them after I posted it on here... I painted the letters of T's name orange, cause it's my favorite color... His is pink!

Gum ball machine is a must! Now I wish I had one as a kid... And books... we have tons. This is just a small amount that fits on this shelf. We have more in his closet and in B's room. Let's don't forget to mention our monthly trips to the library. We get on average 25+ books and puzzles...

I added the moon not long ago after I got it from my dear friend! I love that piece (painted cast). B is scared of it... she wants to spank it :-D not kidding...

Next to the door is a small table, where T does his art (smaller projects anyway) and my blue doggy. The magnetic board holds some dear pictures, sight words, and buckets with markers (idea from another of my dear friends). oh yeah, did you notice my little musician in the mirror? She wouldn't move. Her tune of the past month is "Jesus loves me". Now she is jamming it on T's guitar over and over...

I love the door organizer from IKEA. It holds those small things that I couldn't find a spot for. Now we know where T's flash light, slippers, and sunglasses are!!!

So this is it. Now looking back at it, I will have to come up with a plan to redo his room into one (less chaotic) theme. But I am glad that I got to share it with all of you before I have to say good bye to my wall creations (not talking about Star Wars stickers :-D) Thanks for the opportunity! ... and don't mess with the dragon!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

identity crisis

I have been having an identity crisis lately. I have so many dreams and they are all laying on my mind and it seems lately that they are very heavy. I can't seem to find my way and I keep going in circles. With my kids and house and my animals... and my husband ;-) I am going non-stop, which I am sure many of you can relate to. I have so many ideas about so many things in my head and I can do nothing about it. Don't get me wrong, I love being a home keeper and caring for all my babies. But I must have entered some stage in my life that just keeps me restless. I can't decide what to choose... what should I work on... what is worth it? And then after some time of thinking - I realize that I don't have time for anything anyway so why even bother trying to figure any of this out? My head is spinning and I need to stop it in the right spot. What should I only do with my dreams? Which one to choose? I hope it will be the right one...

Monday, April 11, 2011

spinach turkey omelet

Here is the promised recipe for your delicious breakfast

2 tablespoons water
fresh spinach
2 eggs
garlic salt
1 tablespoons butter
cheddar cheese (grated)
turkey (lunch meat)

Wash spinach and drain in a colander.

Place it on the pen with 2 tablespoons water and cook, tossing until completely wilted.

Place it back into the colander and squeeze out as much water as possible.

Chop spinach and place it in a bowl along with eggs.

Sprinkle with garlic salt and whisk together.

Put butter on a pan and melt it. Place the egg mixture into the pen and spread all the way to the edges of the pan. Cook it until the mixture thickens. Using wooden spoon or spatula, push the edges toward the center so that any uncooked eggs flow underneath. Cook until the eggs set.

Place turkey and cheddar cheese on top of the egg mixture and fold omelet in half using your spatula. 

Serve immediately with side of your choice. I chose toast and kabanos (polish sausage - oh so good, and you can get it in any Polish grocery store).

Friday, April 08, 2011

fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

I am not a big fan of grapefruits as they are bitter and I always have
to add some sugar to make them edible. But my mother-in-law brought me some from Florida and I had to find a way to use them. I added these following ingredients in my head and it seemed like it might work:

3 large grapefruits, cut in half
vanilla extract
cane sugar

Squeeze juice out of the grapefruits into a blender using any squeezing device you own. Add vanilla extract, honey, and cane sugar until you are satisfied with the taste. I tried to use less sugar and more honey and it worked wonderfully. Mix all ingredients in the blender for only couple seconds (it will foam  a bit) and pour into a glass. Serve this refreshing drink with your breakfast!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

weekend menu

+ 2 recipes coming soon

I thought it might be some what inspirational for people if they would look at my weekend menu. I always like to get inspired by what others cook. I think it's one of the most difficult tasks as a mother and wife to think everyday of something to make for the whole family. And I am lucky, I don't have picky eaters. I hope you find this helpful:


- spinach/turkey/cheddar omelet with toast
- fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

- chicken noodle soup (I keep some chicken aside for next day lunch)

- breaded cod
- mushroom risotto
- green beans


- cereal (no time for anything else or we would never make it to church ;-)

- chicken noodle soup (left over from Saturday - mainly kids will eat that)
- grilled chicken/feta cheese panini
- chips (we like pita chips with this)

- Salmon burgers/sweet potato fries

I will post 2 recipes (pictured meals) later today :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the not so creative day

Have you ever had one of those days? 

You want to create something so badly! But it's just not coming... That's what happened to me today. Yesterday, just to make things clear, I sat down during my two-hour break and my work was sliding through my fingers with the smoothest motion. I mean my project was coming along so well and the sawing machine was my best friend. Now back to today... My head was full of ideas for my Etsy shop. But of course, lots of ideas - and not so much time. Today I sat down in my room (which is almost organized), ready to finish a little girl skirt, which I started, but nothing went right. My sawing machine was not cooperating, the ideas were all wrong, and then my baby woke up earlier than usual. Being adventurous as I am, I decided to finish it with her in the room... lol. She wanted to help by giving me the pins. Yes, the sharp, pointy things you use to stab the fabric with. And you know what, I let her. That's how desperate I was. Together we almost finished the skirt without any major casualties. Now, of course, I am not sure if I am satisfied with the outcome (I think I need to make just one more).
After having four kids playing in my house, while I was trying to make dinner and finish laundry, the evening came and instead of going down to create, I feel more like laying on the couch and watching a movie. Glass of red wine and an ice cream sundae might fix it all. And you know what? I might just put two cherries on top today.

P.S.: Yes, the above photo is a sneak peak into my newly almost organized craft room!

Friday, March 18, 2011

My First Blog Party

I am very excited to attend my first Blog Party tomorrow in Western Springs! I can't wait to meet some fellow bloggers and hopefully get some tips and ideas for my blog and Etsy shop. For now, I am only partially ready. Here is my swapping item.

Still lots to finish and I am at work now so I can't work on it. Tomorrow morning will have to do. ;-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I finished on time!

I am so excited! I got to knit again! It was a little speed-knitting but I just enjoyed it so much. My friend Anne's baby girl had a one year birthday and I wanted to give her something thoughtful. I know how much Anne likes hand made hats so I knitted her one. I thought of it only 3 days prior to the party and so I had to do it quickly. But I finished. And now I am thinking about my Etsy.com store... Should I include knitted hats? What do you think?

I knitted more but I don't have the pictures of my creations! What a shame. Well, what do you think? Would these sell on Etsy? (No matter what, I am working on some baby leg warmers for my store right now ;-))