Mobirise




Blogging since 2009, I'm a 1950s housewife to the bone and I love to share what I've learned with others. I'm a lifelong foodie, raised with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's and daily scratch cooking in my childhood kitchen. I'm a nerdy homeschooling mama of 3, and a wife of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.



From Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Day 1 - Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
Day 2 - Top Sirloin w/ Homemade Rub
Day 3 -
Rib Eye w/ Herbed Butter
Day 4 - Rosemary Chicken
Day 5 - Top Sirloin Gyros
Day 6 - Kansas City Style Pork Chops
Day 7 - Steak and Mushroom Kebabs
Day 8 - Dad's Hamurgers, 2.0
Day 9 - Top Sirloin w/ Mushrooms
Day 10 - Kid's Lunch
Day 11 - Chicken Souvlaki
Day 12 - S'mores Cones
Day 13 - Short Ribs



Kitchen & Sewing Skills!
Intro - Syllabus
Lesson 1 - Running & Whipstitch
Lesson 2 - Cookies

Summer Home Ec – Week One – Kitchen Lesson One

Domestic, Kids

For our first kitchen lesson of the summer, the girls each made a batch of cookies. They were supervised, but with no assistance. I put all the ingredients on the kitchen table, along with measure cups, spoons, a wooden spoon, a whisk, a spatula, my Kitchen Aid mixer, and a smaller mixing bowl. Oh, and a recipe stand and a cookbook. ;)

Letting the kids loose in the kitchen is something I think every mom needs to do from time to time to test her inner resolve to not correct – or rescue! Daphne baked chocolate chip cookies and Lena baked gingersnaps, both with zero help from me (or anyone else).

 

 

I reminded them to read their recipes and ingredient lists before they started to be sure they had everything they needed, and then to re-read them to check again. Daphne caught that she needed a second mixing bowl and baking sheets on her second read-through.

 

They also knew that a big part of this project is following the instructions, and learning that you can make pretty much anything with basic skills and the ability to handle directions. In that spirit, I didn’t correct them when I noticed them not following the directions, and assured them it was all part of the process of figuring it out when they each realized they gone a little off course. No biggie.

 

 

We ended up using recipes from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook. The recipes in this book are tested and straightforward. I’ve had it since 2001 and never had a fail that wasn’t my own fault!

Overall, they both did really well. We talked about possible missteps with their baking while they critiqued their own cookies, and what they would do differently!

They’re back in the kitchen on Saturday for cake baking!

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Summer Home Ec – Week One – Sewing Lesson One

Crafty, Homeschooling, Kids

Our first home ec lesson of the summer was a lot of fun! My daughters are 11 (Helena) and 8 (Daphne) and at different skill levels, however Helena requested to start as a beginner along with Daphne as a refresher. I think that worked out really well for her because she felt more confident and we ended up altering Daphne’s lesson a little to make it less frustrating (and therefore still fun) for her.

Officially, the objectives I gave for our first lesson were; threading a needle, running stitch, and whipstitch. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show these stitches well, but not in one place and it takes a little searching, so I’m gathering the best videos to illustrate them throughout this series.

Before we began, I set out felt, needles and thread in different colors. They both chose red felt, Helena went with blue thread and Daphne went with pink thread. In the middle of my ‘how to thread a needle’ instructions, Daphne threaded her needle. She was instantly good at it, which is always a nice little confidence booster! So right away, she was into it.

 

Then I showed them how to do a running stitch and explained to them that it can be used as a decorative closing stitch for stuffies and other cute creations. I also showed them how it can be used for gathering and making some pretty ruffles as well if you gently pull on the end of the thread. This video from Red Ted Art was especially helpful.

Once we began doing the running stitch, Daphne started getting frustrated. I know everyone has different thoughts on this, but just as in our regular homeschool lessons I will backpedal as much as is necessary to avoid frustrating the children. I always, always, find a level of whatever it is we are doing where they are comfortable and start there. Otherwise, they are likely not going to learn anything other than to dislike whatever it is you are trying to teach them. She was having a hard time holding the felt and it was bothering her that she wasn’t able to get her stitches as straight as Helena’s. Then in dawned on me. Where in sewing are all your stitches neat and orderly, even if you’re wobbily with a needle and thread? Cross stitching! Less than 5 minutes later, I set her up with some white aida cloth, an embroidery hoop and embroidery floss and she was a happy camper! Helena continued to work on the fleece with the sewing thread, and I used a ruler and a Sharpie to illustrate stitches that were 1/2″ apart.

 

Satisfied that they were comfortable with the running stitch, we moved on to the whipstitch. The first example I showed them was actually from an advent craft I made years ago. I closed all the pouches with the whipstitch, and they remembered when I did it. This video from Lauren Fairweather showed a wonderful example of using it to attach an applique and that’s what we used in our lesson! You can do it this way or you can use it to sew two pieces together.

For the applique, I just cut hearts out of a contrasting color of felt. First I explained the stitch, then we watched the video I embedded above and then I showed them how on my piece of felt. They happily started on their own and they each did a great job!

 

One Helena had finished whipstitching her heart onto her practice piece, Daphne was about 1/4 done and took a break. She did resume this project after and was happy with her progress.

 

This should be a fun, no pressure summer project. The point of today’s lesson was for the kids to learn to thread a needle, do a basic running stitch and a basic whipstitch. Mission accomplished! Next Sewing lesson will be on Friday when we attach buttons and trims – next home ec lesson is tomorrow though, when the girls will be baking cookies on their own!

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Summer Home Ec

Domestic

It’s so funny to me how often homeschoolers will pick a whole other curriculum for summer and their kids are so excited! Mine worked hard all year and finished two weeks ago. Now, they are already asking me about the summer school ideas they had. Months ago, they all – even my 16 year old – said they wanted to cook more this summer. Specifically, they all want to be able to do more for themselves and to be of some actual assistance lol. The girls also said they wanted to do more sewing, and to learn new skills.

That’s when I thought it would be fun to put together a fun little 8 week summer home ec program. I have been really inspired by the Great British Baking Show, I love the way they do three challenges (signature, showstopper and technical) in each catagory. I can’t do it that way in a short summer course, but I think that’s how I’m going to deal with cooking and baking for the next school year.

I went through all my kids sewing books and all my kids cookbooks, then I turned to my bookmarks. Then I laid out a timeline and edited it about 15,000 times. ;)

Obviously, you can do this right along with us from June 5 – July 28, or you can do a week here and there, you can mix up the weeks if you feel so inclined. I just thought it would be fun to share a program I put together for the kids, and I’m sure a lot of you will find it useful. I have broken each week down into two sewing lessons and two kitchen lessons for a total of four a week. Depending on your schedule it may work better for you to do home ec weekends or just weekdays. It’s as flexible as you need it to be, but we will be doing our sewing projects on Mondays and Fridays and our kitchen projects on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Every weekend for the next 8 weeks, I’ll share with you my specific ideas for upcoming week. Of course you can substitute your own projects or recipes instead if you like. It’s all a jumping off point to getting inspired. For sewing, I have two kids at the same beginner level, and three kids at two different skill levels in the kitchen. So all the recipes have two options. I will also update as we do these projects to share our progress and I’d love to see if you join us by tagging #summerhomeec on Instagram, or sharing your photos in the comments.

Week One – Sewing Basics and Cookies
  Monday (sewing) – Just the Basics: threading a needle, running stitch and whipstitch
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: chocolate chip cookies / intermediate: gingersnaps
  Friday – (sewing) – Adding On: sewing on a button and trim
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: oatmeal cookies / intermediate: soft sugar cookies with frosting

Week Two – Finishing in Sewing and Making Breakfast
  Monday (sewing) – Finishing Part One: making a hem
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: pancakes / intermediate: french toast
  Friday – (sewing) – Finishing Part Two: Making casings
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: boiled eggs / intermediate: fried eggs

Week Three – Pattern Making and Lunch
  Monday (sewing) – Making it Your Own: Making a simple pattern
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: grilled cheese sandwiches / intermediate: mini pizzas
  Friday – (sewing) – Bringing it to Life: Stuffing and stitching closed
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: chicken noodle soup / intermediate: beef barley soup

Week Four – First Projects and First Pies
  Monday (sewing) – Project One: Stuffie
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: blueberry pie / intermediate: lemon meringue pie
  Friday – (sewing) – Project Two: Tote Bag
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: tourtiere / intermediate: chicken pie

Week Five – Drawstrings and Cakes
  Monday (sewing) – Project Three: Drawstring Tote, Part One
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: simple chocolate cake / intermediate: two layer vanilla cake
  Friday – (sewing) – Project Three: Drawstring Tote, Part Two
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: strawberry cake / intermediate: oreo pudding poke cake

Week Six – Sewing Machine Intros and Bread
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine 101: The Basics
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: basic white bread / intermediate: dinner rolls
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine 101: Pot Holder
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: pretzel bites / intermediate: cinnamon buns

Week Seven – Sewing Machine Projects and Donuts
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine Project One: Simple Toy Skirt
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: basic chocolate cake donuts / intermediate: basic yeast donuts
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine Project Two: Custom Pouch
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: cinnamon sugar donuts / intermediate: baked vanilla donuts

Week Eight – Final Projects
  Monday (sewing) – Sewing Machine Final Project: Apron, Part One
  Wednesday (kitchen) – beginner: blueberry cobbler / intermediate: meringues
  Friday – (sewing) – Sewing Machine Final Project: Apron, Part Two
  Saturday – (kitchen)- beginner: fudge / intermediate: baked Alaska

Here are the specific details on what we are doing this week!

On Monday, we’ll be threading a needle, which I think is pretty self explanatory. We’ll also be learning the running stitch and the whipstitch. For this, I’m just using basic needles and colorful thread on felt.

On Wednesday, we’ll be making cookies! The beginner recipe will be this chocolate chip cookie recipe from my grandmother, and the intermediate recipe will be this gingersnap recipe from Food 52.

On Friday, we’ll be learning how to add buttons and trim to pieces of felt! We’ll learn how to add buttons with four holes, buttons with two holes and buttons with the little nub on the back. ;) We’ll add lace, rick rack and other fun trims to felt as well. It really doesn’t matter what you choose, just some kind of trim for practice.

On Saturday, we’ll bake some more cookies! The beginner recipe will be this oatmeal cookie recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, and the intermediate recipe will be this copycat Lofthouse cookies recipe from Your Home Based Mom.

The children and I are so excited to get started and I can’t wait to see and share with you what they accomplish with this project this summer!

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Day 10 of 100 Days of Barbecue – Kid’s Lunch

California, Domestic, Kids

So day 10 is the first day I’m not sharing a recipe. This afternoon our besties came over for a little barbecue and while nothing on the grill was made by me, we came to the conclusion that since we grilled it all, it still counts. :P

We went for a swim The kids went for a swim while the mamas broke up sibling squabbles endlessly adjusted goggles soaked up some sun before the kids came in for Minecraft and excessive pre-lunch snacking. According to Time Hop (which never lies because I’m always on Instagram so it’s a pretty accurate reflection of my timeline), the bestie and I have had a lot of ‘randoversaries’. That’s what my husband calls it when you accidentally do the same thing on the same day a year later. A couple of weeks ago, we discovered (again thanks to Time Hop) that we had hung out on that day 4 years in a row, which is really crazy because I didn’t even live here during one of those years. Anyhoo, we had a randoversary today and recreated Jarvis and Daphne chillin on a pool lounger.

 

 

I wont product link everything but I will say that we tried the premade beef burgers from Whole Foods, and Dr. Praegers California Veggie Burgers and they were both a hit. I also finally tired Trader Joes’ potato salad and fell madly in love. The kids had hot dogs and pita chips and hummus and roasted tomatillo salsa. Also! My Instacart shopper picked up brioche hot dog buns because they were out of what I ordered and they were amazing. PS if you use Instacart, use this link to get $10 for free!

Chris did pretty much all of the grilling. He actually cleaned the grill and got the coals going for me and I put the burgers on, but he took over before I could even flip them. :)

 

 

We have been back in our old place in California for about two months now and it’s still surreal to have the same friends over to the same place, 18 months later. I do miss some things about Salt Lake, but for so many reasons this just feels like home. <3

Back to actual recipes tomorrow.

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Baking With Kids Chocolate Cupcakes

Domestic

I usually choose a cookbook every January to cook and bake my way through over the year. This year my youngest, Daphne, asked if she could pick one to work through as well! I told her that her brother and sister have baked their way through kid’s cookbooks and she chose one they used years ago! It’s called Baking With Kids and it’s been a family favorite for about 10 years now!

This is the first recipe she made from it this year, a simple scratch chocolate cupcake with a fudgy topping.

Chocolate Cupcakes – from Baking With Kids

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup granulated sugar
7 tablespoons soft butter
2 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk

Fudgy Topping
3 1/2 oz chocolate (Daphne picked semi sweet, use your preference)
1 tablespoon golden or light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter

One of the things I really love about this cookbook is that it can reliably be used to teach kids to bake and cook because it follows the simple kitchen formulas you need to remember to really learn what you’re doing. This recipe follows the standard cupcake formula perfectly; whisk dry, add wet, spoon into bakewear. Bake. Voila!

Start by whisking the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa and sugar together. Then add the butter, mix, add eggs, mix, add milk and mix again.

 

Spoon into cupcake liners and bake for 20 minute sat 350.
 

While they’re baking, mix the chocolate, corn syrup and butter in a heat safe bowl over a pan of simmering water till melted.
 

Let the cupcakes cool for at least 10 minutes before you frost them.

Voila! Frost with your fudgy topping (or don’t, they’re great plain too)!
 
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Periodic Table Battleship

Homeschooling

What a neat idea this is! I believe original credit for this game should go to Karyn over at Teach Beside Me. There are a lot of cute and fun educational ideas in the subscriber section of her blog, totally worth a look!

When I first came across this idea, it was just a photo someone had shared on my Facebook with no instructions. So when we tried it out, I used my favorite printable of the periodic table we have been using. It involved coloring in every square and I think that’s great practice for the kids (& me too) so that’s what we did.

Essentially, all you need are four laminated copies of the periodic table, 2 file folders, a paper clip and dry erase markers. Just attach the two file folders together at the top with the paperclip, and secure two of the periodic tables there as well. The other two periodic tables just sit on the open part of the file folder.

There are official rules to this game, you know, like in regular Battleship. When playing with younger children, you can be a little looser with the rules. I just let the kids circle an equal number of ‘battleships’ of equal sizes. So to start, they each went with three battleships, one was 2 x 1, one was 2 x 3 and one was 2 x 2. If you’ve never played before, you mark where your own battleships are on the periodic table that’s laying on the open part of the file folder. Then you guess where the other person’s battleships are by calling out elements. Each time your guess ‘hits’ or ‘misses’ the other person’s battleships, you mark it on the other table on your side. Whoever locates and ‘sinks’ all the other people’s battleships, wins!

The periodic table is something that is usually introduced when kids are in 3rd grade or older. You can introduce it sooner with games like this! You can play the game the way it was intended, or have younger kids just pick a few elements and guess! There are lots of other fun games to play to engage younger kids in learning the periodic table, you just have to get creative – and have a look around!

Here’s a picture of the version we made!

Karyn’s original version is great! The printables are on her subscriber page and there are some details on her blog over here – http://teachbesideme.com/periodic-table-battleship/

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2016 Advent Day 7

Domestic, Holiday, Home, Kids, Utah

The girls woke up and looked all over for their elves with no luck! It wasn’t until a little later in the morning when one of them walked back into their room that they were discovered in the girls’ tree!

We have been getting a lot of packages in the mail for Christmas. Some from dear friends and family, but honestly most are gifts I have ordered for the kids and they always ask if there are any pre-Christmas surprises they can have early. The answer is always no, BUT, I did order them each a Christmas sweater they’d love and Lena’s came today! Hers is from Simply Nailogical, a YouTuber / Instagrammer from Canada who does nail art. The sweater says ‘Happy Holodays’, a reference to holographic nail polish and the graphics on the sweater are cats and nail painting emojis! So silly and fun and boy does she ever love it!

I accidentally posted our advent gifts to Instagram and not Facebook this afternoon, so there is a little hole in our FB advent adventure. ;) That’s ok, documenting it on the bog is where it really counts, right? I had them looking all over the house with no hints aside from being ‘hot’ and ‘cold’, it was pretty fun and they are so good about not telling each other when they find someone else’s gifts. It’s very obvious whose is whose considering their themes this year! So today, Richard got a wooden canvas block! It’s so cool, it can be used with several different mediums, and I have no idea what he’s going to end up using it for, but it’s cool. It’s 3″ x 3″ and has a spot in the back to hang it up! Helena got the second book in the Divergent series today, Insurgent. I have no doubt she will be finished this by tomorrow afternoon! Daphne got a tiny Figaro (the kitty from Pinocchio) and a mini Daisy Duck!

Our advent cookies today were meringue cookies! I love the texture of meringue cookies and thankfully our elevation in Salt Lake does not affect making them at all, but they take about an hour to properly dry in the oven which, of course, can be worked around. Today’s cookies are called Mint Meringue Wreaths, my kids all like mint but you can always leave that out if you’re not a fan. The cute picture in the cookbook had the cookies hanging from ribbons, I love it!

 

This afternoon’s advent activity is one of my favorites and I look forward to doing this with the kids every year – making marshmallows! It really seems so much harder than it actually is. Your Kitchen Aid does most of the work! You whisk a sugary mixture on the stovetop while your gelatin sets up in your mixer. Then you add the two together and let that mixer just mix and mix and mix. It’s pretty amazing what happens really. Then you just spread it out, dust it with sugar and corn starch and wait it out! Voila!

 

Coffee advent has been kicked up a notch tonight with the arrival of my teeny tiny espresso maker. It’s so cute and little, I am obsessed with it. I’ve never had one like this before. You fill the bottom chamber with water, add some coffee to the filter area just above the water and screw the (empty) top part on. Then you set it on your heat source. As the water boils in the bottom chamber, it is forced up through a pipe in the center of the device. This pushes the hot water through the coffee and out into the top chamber. So neat! I was so into it I Snapped the whole process! I made Americanos with Brazilian coffee tonight!

 

Advent is always fun, but this year it just feels even more fun!

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2016 Advent Day 6

Domestic, Holiday, Home, Homeschooling, Kids, Utah

Today was one of those perfectly perfect days that was so full of Christmas cheer we could have been a Hallmark movie. Cheesy and sweet! We kicked off our day with a trip to The Capitol Theatre to see The Nutcracker! We listened to Tchaikovsky while we got dressed up and ready to go, Daphne was dancing around the kitchen to make her dress twirl and it was just the sweetest thing. Our elves greeted us first thing in the morning in the kid’s bathroom on one of their cabinets in there. It was a busy morning with a lot primping going on, so they chose a good spot to see all the morning action!

This was our first time at the Capitol Theatre, and it was decorated for not just Christmas, but for The Nutcracker. What a perfect time to go! We went to one of the few daytime showings courtesy of our homeschooling charter. We didn’t really go ‘with’ a class, but we were technically part of the school board’s group. That afforded us access to amazing seats we may otherwise not have been able to get, and it allowed us to go in the middle of the day when the kids are at their best and not later at night when they would rather be at home in their PJs. What a great opportunity!

 
 

When the ballet was over, the girls picked a ballerina ornament from the Ballet West gift shop as a souvenir and hung it on the tree in their room. So cute!

Instead of heading straight home, we stopped at a cute French bakery a quick walk from the theatre called Eva’s Bakery. The girls got ham and butter sandwiches on crusty bread and chocolate chip cookies with hot chocolate. I chose a turkey panini with marmalade and it was perfection. We ordered some festive macaroons to go (eggnog and candy cane) and headed back home.

 
 

I hid (& the kids searched for their) advent gifts of the day when we got home. I was a little laid back about it today since we had been out all morning and everyone was curious to know what they got. Richard got 3 more copic markers, Helena got a hilarious and very silly book about zombie guinea pigs from a book series called Undead Pets, and Daphne got a tiny Daisy and a mini Belle. Helena finished her book in just a couple of hours before she passed it along to Daphne, who also got a kick out of it.

Our advent cookies were super fun today! The kids got into it and made most of them themselves. Today we made Candy Cane Cookies, and judging from the comments and messages we got about these when I posted them, it seems these cookies are an annual tradition for many families!

 

Our advent activity for today was a Christmas movie marathon and that was an easily accomplished mission! We watched Mickey’s Magical Christmas, Barbie Christmas Carol (this one is my fave), The Polar Express AND Alpha and Omega’s Howladay (which really isn’t very Christmasy at all, but Daphne insisted and it did have ‘howladay’ in the title).

We are managing the balance of festivities and school fairly well, I think. The rest of this week we have normal schoolwork and my husband’s company’s Christmas party is this weekend. Then next week we have three fun field trips planned, and one more week of regular schoolwork before Christmas break officially begins!

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2016 Advent Day 5

Domestic, Holiday, Home, Kids, Utah

Day 5 of our advent started off as a normal school day, and we had an online class on grammar! Once we were done with school for the day, the girls and I ran a quick errand before we came home for Christmas fun. Our elves were found in the most ridiculous place today – inside the bread machine! The first thing I said when the girls showed them to me was ‘what if I wanted to make bread today?!’ Of course, the elves knew I wasn’t planning to make bread today, because the elves are smart like that. ;)

For advent gifts today, I basically hid their surprises in plain sight! I didn’t give the children any hints at all and I just put their surprises where I figured they’d end up! So Richard got a ‘shorty stick’ pencil, it’s essentially a mechanical pencil that can accommodate different sizes of lead. It’s pretty neat. I put this on his desk, slightly askew so he wouldn’t notice it immediately. Lena’s book today was the first in the Maze Runner series, she’s already read it, but just like with all her favorite series, she wanted them for her collection. I literally just put this on her bookshelf, but naturally there were enough books there to camouflage them. Daphne’s tiny Tsum Tsum was a little ornament with a space for any of her tiny Tsum Tsums! Sooooo cute! Her mini today was Piglet, and I just put her on her bedside table, with about 5 or 6 other mini Tsum Tsums so it took a minute for her to identify which was the new one.

Our advent cookies today were a hit – again! These cookies are called Double Chocolate Chewies, but the meringue is totally left out of this title! These cookies are those wonderful airy, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside meringue cookies, with chocolate chips! They come together very quickly, and with the power of your Kitchen Aid they come together with very little effort. These cookies are dangerously good though. I had to pack some up to deliver to friends and get them out of my house!

 

Our advent activity today was baking cinnamon ornaments, and we ended up making a cinnamon air freshener instead! We’ll attempt it again tomorrow and I’ll take pictures and post a recipe as well.

Coffee tonight was sampling an espresso roast I had never tried before. I’m really digging these pourovers at night. Originally, I had planned for this coffee advent to be about making fancy coffee recipes, but we are really more interested in straight up coffee so I think I will focus on trying different kinds of beans and brands of roasters.

Tomorrow I am taking the girls to see The Nutcracker! They are both so excited and honestly, so am I! The main reason for our errand this afternoon was to get tights and shoes for them since when we tried on our outfits for the ballet their shoes were pinching them – it has been a while since they had to wear dress shoes! Off we went and they picked some very cute shoes, I will show them all off tomorrow night!

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2016 Advent Day 4

Domestic, Holiday, Home, Kids, Utah

So, we’re on day 4 of our Christmas countdown, and we kicked it off with an adventure at Storybrook Play Cafe! Our day started bright and early as we got ready for a pancake breakfast with Santa and Mrs C! I really need to document the adorable Mod Cloth dress I wore to this occasion.

Such a fun time! We always love to go to events (or even just an afternoon to play) at Storybrook, but this was especially fun! They had set out a pancake buffet in their cafe with pancakes (duh), fresh fruit, maple syrup, raspberry syrup, whipped cream and juice and milk (and coffee, of course).

 

After breakfast, we headed downstairs to meet Santa and Mrs Claus! Lena and Daphne sat with them and chatted about what they had been up to so far this season, and what they were hoping for. They asked for a bike and a scooter, which was a little hilarious, because last week they were asking for a guitar and drums. Keeping me on my toes, that’s for sure! Do people do bikes at Christmas? Isn’t that more of a ‘passing gift’ summer thing? We’ll have to have a chat about that! We got some cute photos and I took a Polaroid and Mrs Claus gave the girls each a little reindeer plushie with a candy cane. Super cute. We didn’t stick around for story time, the girls were ready to head home, it was a really cute and fun event.

As soon as we got back home, the girls were off to find the elves! It took some searching, but they turned up in my Pioneer Woman cake stand eating those Pfeffernüesse cookies from yesterday!

Advent gift hunting was a little lame today. We do chores before the daily advent scavenger hunt, and chores were a little slow going today. My littles are not morning people, so even getting up early to see Santa is draining. Once they got everything on their lists done, they gave me a few minutes to hide their surprises. The twist today was, they asked for no hints, just what room their surprise was in! Richard got 3 copic sketch markers, he found their fairly quickly hidden in his monster feet slippers. Lena found today’s book after a whole lot of searching. I put it on the windowill in her room, behind the curtain, facing outside. It was kind of hilarious because after a while she was asking me to tell her if she was hot or cold and she couldn’t get how walking into the middle of her room was cold, but walking towards the wall was hot. Funny! Today, she got the first in a series called The Paladin Prophecy and just like with every book she has received in the past 3 days, she devoured almost all of it in one day. Daphne originally requested no hints, but after searching the living room for 10 minutes she asked for little hint, and then a little more haha. She eventually found her mini Pascal in her purse and her advent calendar produced a teeny, weeny tiny Dutchess cat. Sooooo cute, it’s my favorite so far.

Advent cookies today were amazing, and baked pretty much right after we got back from breakfast with the Claus’. ;) Day 4 was Malted Milk Chocolate Cookies and for the first time this week I made a substitution. Instead of using plain malted milk powder, as the recipe called for, I used chocolate malted milk powder to dress them up a little. Naturally, once they were cool I decided to go ahead and cover them in melted chocolate as per the instructions anyway, even though they clearly did not need them. They were a hit with the kids, even the one child that is not as into chocolate as the other two. The chocolate monster (aka Miss Daphne) was mad for them, so she had to be rationed. ;)

 

Our advent activity today was to bake bread, but we ended up going with buns instead. Same idea, right? I found the recipe for these scrawled on an index card in my kitchen, so who knows where it came from? Pretty standard recipe, make the dough, let it rise, punch it down, shape it, and let it rise again before baking.

 

Tonight’s coffee advent was some Ukrainian coffee I have come to love this year, called Kaba. I’m sure it’s very run of the mill in Ukraine, but for me it tastes stronger than most coffees without being overly bitter. I do love some strong, bitter coffee for sure, but sometimes I’m looking for some strong, smooth coffee and this is it. I just brewed it as a standard pour over, my new go to since I got a cute kettle a while ago.

Tomorrow is a regular school day, our first Monday in this advent countdown, hopefully the excitement of advent surprises and cookies will encourage them to get their work done and not derail them. ;)

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