Browsing the blog archives for February, 2013.

Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar – Preschooler Activity

Homeschooling, Kids

Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar - Preschooler Activity

I mentioned last month that I’d post some things I do for my preschooler while I’m busy working with my older two and this one is a big hit. The first time I did this I used squirt bottles instead of eyedroppers and I’ll tell you right now, just get some eyedroppers. It makes the activity more fun and you will find countless other uses for them.

Pour out a box or two of baking soda into a medium/large container. Pour plain white vinegar into small containers and use food coloring to tint each one a different color. When Wee One #3 saw the baking soda fizz and poof up, she was sold. She played around with this for almond an hour. Then, she found another way to play with it! She asked for a tiny spoon, so I gave her my 1/4 teaspoon and she started scooping the baking soda out of the tupperware and plunking it into the vinegar. Check out the blue vinegar in the last row of photos for an action shot of that. Much bigger fizz! Of course dumping baking soda into vinegar isn’t as much of a time sink as the other way around, but it rounded out another half hour and I was able to start to finish a grammar lesson for my 2nd grader and a math lesson for my 7th grader and my preschooler happily experimented alongside us.

She has asked to do this activity over and over again also, so it’s definitely a repeatable activity!

Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar - Preschooler Activity
Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar - Preschooler Activity
Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar - Preschooler Activity
Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar - Preschooler Activity
Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar - Preschooler Activity
Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar - Preschooler Activity
Baking Soda and Tinted Vinegar - Preschooler Activity
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Coconut Banana Granola Bars


Early in 2011 my husband and I watched way too many documentaries on food and health in general. The three that affected us the most were Food Matters, then Food Inc, and then Forks Over Knives a few months later. Ouch. It was hard to watch as a meat / dairy / processed foods eating couple. Since then we eat a lot less meat and dairy, and the meat and dairy we do eat now is organic. I have always been really big on making as much as possible from scratch, but my concept of ‘as much as possible’ is a lot different now – even though with homeschooling and adventuring around LA we have less spare time than ever, it’s totally worth it to find the time. (it’s a good busy)!

Last year, I posted a recipe for homemade granola bars that I still use on the regular for the kids. They’re pretty good and only have one questionable ingredient – marshmallows and as I said in the original post, if you make them yourself they’re not all that questionable anymore! These granola bars are for anyone who likes banana and coconut. None of my littles like coconut – crazy right?! My husband and I looooove coconut so these babies are the grown up granola bar around here now. 😉

Coconut Banana Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips via Undressed Skeleton

1 cup organic flaked coconut
1 large (extra ripe) banana
1 cup whole grain oats
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground flax
1/4 cup almond milk
1 packet truvia (or whatever you use for sweetening)
*the original recipe used 2 tbsp vegan chocolate chips but I skipped them

Super simple and so good aaaaand no flour, no eggs, no dairy, no added sugar, no butter, no oils!

Mash the banana and add to a bowl with the coconut, flax, vanilla, oats and truvia. Slowly add the almond milk until it holds it’s shape and then just pat into a pan. If you’re using chocolate chips, now is the time to add them. It’s not runny so you can get away with using the middle of a pan (like I did) or you can use an 8 x 8 pan. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes and let cool before cutting.

Strawberry Cupcakes


There was a whole lotta Valentiney love in the kitchen going on around here over the last 2 weeks or so. I made cookies, I made cupcakes, I made gummy hearts, I made heart shaped bacon – and even heart shaped hot dogs. Yes, I know that’s insane, thank you. I was having so much fun Valentining it up with my husband and our littles, I didn’t stop long enough to post about it much! That’s ok, you know I’ll catch up with that eventually.

This post isn’t even a recipe, but man these were good.

These extremely sweet (and also extremely yummy) cupcakes were made from a box, which I know is 100% not me but I’m learning to bend a bit. I made them with strawberry cake mix but I added more strawberry flavor with about 1/4 of a 3oz package of strawberry jello. Yes, jello.

Then I made a totally standard batch of buttercream (butter, icing sugar, milk, vanilla), but I added both bright pink food coloring (thanks Wilton) and the rest of the 3/4 of the 3oz package of strawberry jello. I used my extra long icing tip to fill some of the cupcakes with the strawberry-spiked buttercream and then I used two other tips for the tops, the star and rigged swirl are the same tip.

Good thing I had people around to share these with or I may have eaten way more than my fair share!!
Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes
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Mini Cherry Tarts


So, I know that Valentine’s Day is mostly a made up Hallmark holiday. But guess what? I don’t care. I like all the construction paper hearts and random heart shaped confections and reading stories about ‘love day’ to the littles. In the interest of full disclosure I’ll add that I also totally love it when my amazing husband brings me flowers and treats and something shiny. Or even when he just purposely does something extra cute, like years ago when we had just one little person, he left him with our sitter and showed up at my office at the time to take me for coffee and wander around Toronto for hours – which is one of my all time favorite pre-children thing we used to do together. Maybe if he sucked at Valentine’s Day I’d hate it, but he rocks so I don’t. Plus I think all holidays are so much more fun with the kids to add their energy and magic to everything. So that’s your heads up that for the couple of weeks, it’s going to be very Valentiney around here.

Baking tarts is no exception. The flurry of pink, purple and red construction paper is in full swing here already and when it was time to bake tarts for dessert naturally my first thought was cherry for the color but Miss Wee One #2 was inspired to cut a little heart in the corner of one of the crusts. Never to be outdone, Wee One #3 took that idea a step further and insisted we cut wee hearts from the leftover pie crust for small, flaky pie crust cookies. Cute!!

I used my granny’s pie crust recipe (from her treasured book published in 1932). I had intended to make actual cherry pie, you know, from actual cherries, but they just didn’t exist this week at the market and I was determined to make these. Enter the cherry preserves. Still, my husband ate 3 of them, so they couldn’t have been bad. <3

At the very least, here is the simple, but amazing pie crust.

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter
3 (ish) tablespoons cold water

Cut the cold butter into the flour and salt with two butter knives or a pastry cutter. Once it’s oatmealy, use a fork to mash the mixture into itself with a few tablespoons of water. You want it to all come together without becoming a sticky cookie-like dough. More like a barely holding itself together crumb topping. Then turn it out onto a counter or cutting board sprinkled with flour and roll it around until it takes shape.

Roll it out to fit your pie plate. I have bowls for the littles that I turn over an use as cutters for muffin pan tarts, and a shallow 9″ pie plate that only needs a 10.5″ circle to fill. My most often used pie plate is a 9″ deep dish so really I need a circle of dough more like 12″ or so for that, so plan accordingly! Unless you’re making pumpkin or lemon you’ll need a top crust as well!

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Life Lately…

California, Domestic, Kids

Just a little Sunday post while I finish pulling together a whole lot of Valentiney fun!

Meeting a brand new baby is always a lot of fun, so we are thankful we got to count that among our recent adventures!

We spent some time at Silly Goose this week and we were lucky to be there on face painting day! Then we spent an afternoon at the park doing science experiments and sensory activities with our friends. Fun!

I tried anew baked donut recipe with nutmeg and a berry glaze, and I kicked off Valentiney month with some pink heart pancakes and heart shaped bacon. Both were a serious hit.

A little more South Bay exploring this week too!

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Knitting, knitting, knitting….


Three of the goals on my 2013 list are knitting related, (knitting 12 pairs of socks in a year, finishing this blanket, and knitting 13 Tiny Owl Knits patters for those of you following along at home). It doesn’t matter that I totally suck at knitting sweaters or that my guage is so often painfully much too big or much too small. When I started reading knitting blogs I was sure I’d be a brilliant knitter as soon as I could knit complicated socks. By that logic, I’m extremely brilliant because all I knit are complicated socks. Socks with colorwork, socks with lace, socks with cables, all if it! Attaching arms on a sweater, not so much, but complicated socks I can do.

I finished one pair of socks for Wee One #1, one pair of socks for my girl Sammie, one for Wee One #2’s godmother and a pair of baby socks for my friend’s new baby that I didn’t post about. Onward!

These are the ones I made for Wee One #1. The pattern is called Winter Lace Socks by Barb Brown Designs. I made them in Knit Picks Comfy Fingering in Jalapeño. He loves them and wears them to bed!

I’m most excited about these babies, they’re going in the mail tomorrow to my kitchen soul mate and sister from another mister, Sammie. <3 The pattern is called Socks of Kindness (so fitting for her). I’ve made them once before in a bright blue for Wee One #2’s senior kindergarten teacher. So so pretty. It was her birthday last week and so far this year I’ve bene negative two weeks on getting things in the post on time. At least they get there, right? These ones were knit up from Knit Picks Felici Sport self-striping in Marsh.

These are a Christmas gift that has still yet to leave the house. Terrible, right? I know, I know. In my defense the recipient has not sent ours down either haha. Hilariously, I made these as one of the first Christmas knitting projects! They are for Wee One #2’s godmother, the pattern is called Basket Case Socks and these were knit in Knit Picks Comfy Fingering in Peapod.

These little cuties are sooooo adorable, they’re painful to look at. I made a pair in pink for Sammie’s baby girl in the fall and they look just as cute in blue! The pattern is called Garter Stripe Baby Socks and I made them from very pretty yarn my sister sent me for my birthday. Nikkiiiii, what yarn is this?!

Yesterday I started a dishcloth on size 6 needles after only making socks and working on my puffs (for this) on very small needles and I felt like a vampire slayer. Not that size 6s are at all big, but most of my sock needles are toothpick-like so regular needles see huge.

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of knitting up my hexi-puffs from the leftover sock yarn at the end of each pair. I’m up to 234 now! I have listed in the sidebar and on my project page on Ravelry that I need 400 but it might be a whole lot more than that. Once I hit 400, I’ll lay them out and see if that’s even close. It’s going to look so sweet when it’s done I don’t even care how long it takes. Just look at this one!

Now…which pattern to choose next?!

P to the S – Valentiney insanity kicks off this weekend!

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