Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Final Countdown~ DIY Summer Camp

By this time tomorrow I’ll be done with the Wednesday market and I’ll be sitting having drinks with Chris and Jason. Chris is picking him up from the airport while I’m working.

Already on the schedule for tomorrow I will be showing him a bread recipe and making deodorant. We will be cramming as much into 7 weeks as we possibly can.

Thursday I plan to do some stuff around the house with him during the day and at night while Jack and I are at 4H, Chris and Jason will be making sausages. Friday night they are going to help roast a pig and they need the sausages for it. Saturday is the actual event and then Sunday is Fancy Dinner Club. (I am planning a follow-up post from the event for From Scratch Club so stay tuned!)

Next week it’s me and Jason during the day so you better believe we are going to cook everything under the sun. Later in the week we are going camping and then he gets to go to derby!

I need to make sure to get cheesemaking supplies and a few things for cold process soap making. My challenge to myself is to post something every day that we have done. Sometimes it might just be a post of photos with captions but I’m still going to try to get stuff up.

I hope you enjoy following along with us on our crazy DIY Summer Camp Adventures!

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Letterboxing Adventures

I must start by saying that this cool adventure wouldn’t have ever happened if it weren’t for the super awesome Jillian. She planned the event and it was so much fun, I can’t wait for the next one.

This post will mostly be pictures so I’ll quickly explain letterboxing. You get a container and put in a stamp (or stamps), a stamp pad, and a booklet with pen. Then you have to create some clues on how to get where you’ve hidden said box.

Jillian got us passports from Saratoga P.L.A.N. that have a few different spots they have set up. You get the clues directly from them and then you stamp your passport booklet at each location.

(See if you can find the creepy crawly in the last picture.)

We did the Bog Meadow Trail and the weather was perfect. We saw really pretty wildflowers and a heron flew over while we were by the bog. It was great to get to walk in nature and the kids had lots of fun running down the trail.

Have you ever tried letterboxing? If not, you should, even if you don’t have kids it’s a lot of fun.

Now I need to remember to bring my own stamp for next time for the little book you sign when you find the box.

Evolving

If you have followed for some time you know I’ve made some big and small changes to the blog recently. The biggest being that I moved it from Blogger to WordPress.

When I started the blog it was mostly to keep track of what we’d done, both so I could search old recipes from time to time and to look back and get reminders of our fun & creative times as a family. Since, it was only friends and family that used to read the blog, it made sense then to keep it as it was.

Now that more people read it, even those who don’t know me personally, I wanted to streamline things to make it easier to read and get information from. So, I’ve been updating the pages and adding new stuff as well.

I also plan to incorporate some better pictures and more comprehensive tutorials. Some other things include interviews with other writers/bloggers/friends and also more posts that link to sites, books, and companies/products I really like. Personally, I really like to get recommendations from my friends or trusted sources before making certain purchases so I want to include that type of thing here as well.

I really, truly appreciate it that people are willing to read what I write and follow what we are up to. By all means, if you have suggestions for something you’d like to see, or see more of, just let me know.

Thanks.

A Picnic Blanket

All rolled up. I just used a solid color for the bottom.

If you follow Progressive Pioneer then you are already familiar with her “Friday Make & Do.” I usually just ooooh and aaaaah over all the cool projects, but hardly ever get around to doing any of them.

Well not this week!

She linked to the outdoor blanket from The Sleepy Time Gal and I realized that I totally needed one of those for my car and I could make that in no time.

A cute, outdoorsy, owly pattern for the top.

So today I got some fabric and used sturdy cotton fabric for the top and bottom. The bottom is outdoor upholstery fabric and the top was in the “juvenile” fabric section, because kids are so crazy they need industrial grade fabric to prevent wardrobe destruction…or something like that.

At any rate, the blanket should hold up better than thin quilter’s cotton and the like. I also got some double fold bias tape for the trim and tie, and matching thread.

At most you’d be able to complete this in 3 hours. I plan to keep it in my car, especially since the weather will be super nice soon and you never know when your child will pester you to go to the park.

Homemade Larabars and Friendly Visits

Today I went to hang out with HMF and her adorable children. I hadn’t seen her in waaaaaaay too long and I owed her the bday gift I had promised her, which was overdue.

It was nice to catch up and chit chat, especially in the company of a sweet baby who kept blowing drool bubbles and smiling at me. I also got to present her with the Larabar-style bars I made for her. I had made some a few weeks ago, but didn’t want to share it here and ruin the surprise.

These are super easy to make and each batch made 4 bars. This is a post with lots of links to different recipes but I used this one for Cashew Crunch and this one for PB&J. All you need are the ingredients and a food processor. (For the PB&J one she says to use a 1/2 cup of dates and that it makes two bars. I basically just doubled the dates and they seemed to be fine, plus it made 4 bars that way.)

While there we talked about several things but we also got to do one of my favorite things….look at cookbooks. Seriously, I have an addiction. She also told me of a cool e-course with a mom blogger on how to best use my DSLR camera and we discussed the Red Velvet online courses.

When I got home I was thinking how I’m very lucky to have so many talented, creative friends. Of course I always want to do more than I have the time for and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this. It’s also nice to know there are lots of people in my life who enjoy things like cooking and crafting. In a weird way, it makes me feel like there’s hope for humanity after all.

Talking with like-minded friends is also a better resource than just endlessly trolling the internet for ideas. Seriously, that thing is like a rabbit hole for delicious food and amazing projects, but sometimes you really need the trusted words of a friend to say, “This is awesome, do it!”

And it’s also nice to reassure myself that I’m not the only one who sometimes chooses to get hopelessly sucked into Netflix Instant View instead of crossing things off my never-ending “I Wanna” list.

Scones, Two Ways & a Pizza

Wild ramps harvested by the Kilpatrick Crew.

I’ll start with the pizza since I made that last night (sorry, no pic, I ate it too fast). I used my regular pizza dough that I make in large batches and freeze into single use portions. When it had defrosted I rolled it out and then put on some of my homemade pesto from last summer. I also put the pesto into single serve plastic baggies and then into the chest freezer.

Swiss chard is back at the market, so I chopped up a bunch of that and tossed it all over the top of the pizza. Then I cut an onion in half, and sliced it thin. That went on top of the chard. I sprinkled some shredded parm on top and put it into the oven for about 12 or 13 minutes. I was so crazy good. I can’t wait to start making summertime garden pizzas again!

Now, the scones…..

Don't you love how cranberries POP when you cook them?

This morning I made the Buttermilk Scone recipe from Baking with Julia. Sadly, I think my buttermilk has spoiled so I used raw milk instead. It wants you to add orange zest but I didn’t have any oranges on hand so I added a splash of orange juice instead. Back around Thanksgiving time I was smart and bought a lot of cranberries while they were on sale. I pulled a bag from the freezer and dumped a bunch in.

Instead of brushing the tops with melted butter, I just used more milk. Then I sprinkle with demerara sugar, because I like the big crunchy crystals on top, instead of just regular sugar.

They were so good. I’ll have one each morning until they are gone. Now I’m inspired to make different ones. I think I want to make a chocolate pecan one too, and a blueberry raspberry one with the berries I picked last summer.

To.Die.For.

Then came the savory scones! Christina sent me this recipe for Savory Squash Scones. Although they look amazing, squash season is over with now. I’ll have to make that actual recipe in the fall. I did use the base for it though.

I also chopped up three pieces (stalks? stems? I don’t really know what you call them exactly) of green garlic, half a bundle of wild ramps (maybe about 10 altogether) and sauteed them with diced ham in some olive oil.

In one day we've gone from 8 to 4. Don't think they'll last past tomorrow, they are too good to resist.

While I let that cool I made the base and shredded some Calico Cow cheddar from Willow Marsh. It’s cheddar cheese with black pepper and dried red peppers mixed in.

I folded everything together with my hands. Really, it’s just the best way to do it. Yes, it’s greasy and messy, but that’s what sinks and soap are for.

When I put the pieces on the baking sheet I brushed them with milk and sprinkled them with oregano and freshly ground black pepper.

They were so good that I ate 2 of them, and they aren’t small either. I didn’t need the second one, but I couldn’t help myself. Chris even said, “This is the best thing to come out of our kitchen in some time!” (I know that sounds kind of like an odd compliment, but there hasn’t been much more than the usual fare in our kitchen as of late.)

So, there you have it. Now I’m on a quest to see how many different crazy savory scone concoctions I can come up with!

We Conquered Monday

Using it for the first time. Glorious!

Yesterday Chris had the day off, the weather was beautiful, and we decided to check a few home projects off the list.

We transplanted some stuff into the garden, and then got a new hose sprayer attachment since our other one broke. I should note that if you live somewhere cold, remove your hose before winter.

The past 2 winters I didn’t do this. It busted the pipe. Thankfully, my super handy stepdad was visiting this weekend and fixed it. He saved us an expensive call to the plumber and I’ll never make that dumb mistake again. To be fair, the last time I lived in a house where I used a garden hose, I lived in Phoenix. So I guess it’s understandable that I don’t know important winterizing things yet.

We also got two clothesline wheels, some clothesline, and more clothespins. I’ve wanted to be able to dry my clothes outside for so long. Considering all we had to do was hack up a bush that was blocking one of the trees we needed to anchor into, it seems criminal that it took us this long to do it.

I will say that original plans called for a permanent clothesline or those drying umbrellas. For those you need concrete, a wheelbarrow, and post hole digger. So a much bigger project for sure. This route cost less than $10 and I’m a happy camper.

At Lowe’s we picked up a few LED bulbs. As our CFLs go out we are gradually replacing them with LEDs. They are more expensive but do last longer. It’s a really good thing we aren’t replacing them all at once.

We also found these nifty things that go on top of posts like you would have on railings or decks. They are solar powered and have a small bulb inside them. We put them on the posts at the bottom of the stairs that lead into the house. This means we don’t have to leave the outside light on as much, or try to stumble up the stairs in the dark.

When I looked back over the day I realized that each of the things we did helps reduce energy use in some way. Yes, I realize we had to drive to get this stuff, but overall I think it helps.

From now through October I should be able to dry all our laundry outside, and our lighting additions will help in a small way with energy use at home. The garden we are planting filters CO2 and since I’m growing probably way too many tomatoes, it means I’ll hopefully have enough pasta sauce and salsa to last through the winter, avoiding buying it at the store.

We didn’t completely intend for that initially but it’s certainly a good bonus!