Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fancy Nancy inspired

What little girl doesn't like the story of Fancy Nancy? The fabulous little girl, who loves everything French, fancy, and sparkly. My little girl sure loves her and we read Fancy nancy books often ( boy, am I glad our library has a great supply of them because otherwise my account would literally pay for it ;-)

If you are not familiar with this story, you should know that Fancy Nancy has this fabulous pink clubhouse in her backyard, made entirely from fabric. Both of my kids have been asking me whole winter to build one like that in our yard and I finally got to it the other day. It didn't take that long and the kids' reaction was worth all the sweating!

During projects like this I am glad that I am such a little hoarder and collect everything possible that has something to do with crafting. It so happens that I had lots of different kinds of fabric stashed on a shelf in my craft room and I could finally put it to good use.
Now the only issue was to find the right spot. T had an excellent idea to tie one end of the string to the tree and the tree house. And luckily I had enough fabric for that big of a stretch. And then all it took was hammering the pole into the ground, wrapping the string around that and it all created a triangle which allowed me to drape the fabric over for a small "roof". 

Clothes pins are the magic things that are holding it all together. And I should mention something that they don't show you in the book - and that is how to deal with an extremely high winds ;-) Oh yes, I had to run around a bit, try to catch the fly away fabric. But extra clothes pins was all I needed (I wonder if the neighbors were having a ball watching me run around like that).

Isn't this an awesome place to hang out?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rain tangled with the family

I don't remember last time it was raining all day non stop. I have to say I enjoyed hanging out with the family, laying in bed, playing games, and watching Tangled in the afternoon. (Isn't Rapunzel awesome? She is my new favorite princess! And Mandy Moore gives her such a nice touch! Ok I am rambling now but really! B and I are smitten by her)

I was trying to get popcorn ready but ended up burning both batches. We don't own microwave for many years now and I found some good recipes how to pop the corn in the pot. I did this million times before and it always worked out but today just wasn't the popping luck on my side I guess. I got pretty upset about that... I din't hear the kids asking for popcorn after that - I can only assume they knew better ;-) We had peanuts instead and they enjoyed the full bowl. 
Now they are sleeping and I am sitting here with my porch door open, listening to magic sound of rain. It is very precious to me this year since there was hardly any and our grass and yard can show for that. I better stop my post right here and go work on the never ending homeschooling curriculum for this year. I set my goal to finish 3 more weeks by tomorrow night so we can send out files for printing. I can't wait to have a button from my other blog that I am sharing with my sister-in-law. Then you can see some of the work we do with the kiddos.
happy rainy Sunday!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

How to freeze basil with parmesan

Basil is one of my favorite herbs. It has incredibly rich and spicy flavor and it can be used in many recipes. I grow it in my garden every year and at the end of the season I try to preserve as much of it as I can. Last year I found out that the best way to preserve it is by freezing it together with the ever flavorful parmesan cheese. This way the two absorb each other's flavor and you end up with a tasty ingredients for your culinary creation.

Pick the bigger and medium leaves that look healthy. This way the smaller leaves that are developing will have a chance to grow bigger. Wash them and prepare your parmesan - grate it if you have to. I buy my raw in Trader Joe's.

I use big yogurt cup for storage but you can use any other plastic container that will fit all your ingredients. Start with a layer of parmesan.

Then chop the basil leaves up into smaller pieces and place layer on top of the parmesan. 

Repeat the layers till you use up all your basil...or run out of space.

Last, close up the cup and write the description. Don't forget the date, this will last in your freezer for about 6 months. I was using it longer and it was still fine.

You can use it as Pizza topping, or as an ingredient in your pasta sauce. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Make your own fruit water

What is the best way to refresh our bodies during hot summer days? For me it is definitely water! But after drinking it all day every day, I get bored, don't you? I start craving juices and pop but I know that is not the healthy answer. Then we started occasionally going to The Standard Market for dinners and I got hooked on their fruit water. They have four different barrels full of water and fresh fruit or veggies. This way the water gets flavor from the particular fruit without being overly sweet and unhealthy. Here are the simple steps for you to enjoy this treat and also some combinations I tried:

This one is Nectarine Mint Water

I used mason glasses (you can also use jars) because you can easily close them and place them safely into your fridge without spilling the contents. On the bottom place some fresh mint leaves first.

Follow them with cut up fresh nectarines.

... and put some ice cubes on top!

Pour water over the ingredients, close up with a lid and place them in the fridge overnight. They will really absorb the right amount of flavors, so make sure you make extra for yourself! My kids loved it too and they even got to eat the nectarines after we drank the water! They were nice, cold and fresh!

Some other combinations you could try are: watermelon/sage, watermelon/mint, peaches/mint, cucumber/thyme, lemon/strawberries, strawberries/mint. Those are the ones I tried but there are endless possibilities, go ahead, try some and share with us!