Friday, May 25, 2012

Foody Friday - Kale Chips

For a couple years now I've come across different articles here and there expounding on the healthiness of kale and how people should eat more kale, eat more KALE, EAT MORE KALE!!! (I've stumbled on a LOT of articles on kale.)

Alright already, I'll eat more kale!! Thus the decision to plant kale in my garden this year. I've never eaten kale before but it sure looked pretty with it's bright, sturdy, green leaves. 

"This will be great in salad!", I thought to myself. 

Then I tasted it. Ugh!! Kale is bitter!! It would take a LOT of salad dressing to cover up that taste! I seriously contemplated digging it all up...that's how bad raw kale is. I decided to give kale one more try and Googled some kale recipes to get some ideas and I kept getting results for kale chips. It was easy enough, why not try it? 

I set my oven to 350 degrees. While it was heating I heaped up kale on a round pan, as much as I could get piled on it. Then I drizzled olive oil and salt on top and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes. 

When the leaves were getting crispy and brown I pulled them out. The leaves shrunk tremendously! I let them cool slightly, only a minute or so and then I tried them. 

Before I tasted them I couldn't imagine that they'd taste at all good, and was ready to pitch the whole batch, considering how bad kale tasted raw but I was pleasantly surprised! 

Kale chips are fabulous! They are lot like roasted cabbage but crispier. The flavor was great too with the olive oil and salt I could fake myself into thinking I was eating very light potato chips. 

Alright Kale. You are safe in my garden, I won't dig you up. 

But....can you grown any faster please? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Marker Monday - Coffee Carpets

This was a project I did with my Sunday school class on Mother's Day. I didn't have a chance to post it before Mother's Day but it's still a nice craft that could be made any time of year. 

First, at home, my kids and I painted up a bunch of sheets of paper in various colors, patterns and textures. It was a lot of fun letting their imaginations run wild. I think it was kind of a stress free art project where they didn't have to think too much or worry that they'd mess anything up. 

Pinned Image

I found this idea on Pinterest to help create textures. 
It worked great!! 

To make my "coffee carpet" example, I took half a painted sheet, measuring 6x9, and cut strips from the other sheets to create a pattern. Then with a white paint marker and other markers I added swirls and dots. 

During Sunday School we talked a little about how Biblical mothers would have had lots of carpets in their tents (I'm thinking Abraham time, wandering the wilderness, etc.) and asked them to design their own carpet. 

Here are my boys carpets.

When they were all finished we laminated them and gave them to mothers to use as "coffee carpets". They turned out great and painting the papers ahead of time really worked out well for all the kids. They really enjoyed sifting through the various painted papers and looking at the colors and textures. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Week 21 - Black

This week's theme is Black. (Whoops, I'm a few days behind :) 

My FB friend, you would know her in my comments as Jester6, who I am doing this photo theme with did the coolest thing for Black. 

What my friend had to say about her photo, "I had a late night grocery trip this evening and while putting groceries away I spotted the glow sticks on the top shelf. It was late. It was dark. I decided, WHY NOT!! :-)
I didn't take the time to grab the tripod. The picture is completely grainy. Who cares? It was fun. :-)

It was fun!! That's the point of photography right? To enjoy ourselves and have fun. I'm so glad my Jester6 has such a fun laid back attitude towards photography. Although we both want to improve our photo taking skills what's the point if we are ALWAYS stressing about fstops and tripods and getting "the perfect photo"?! 

I've been packing this week for our vacation to Indiana and decided to take a page from Jester6 and not stress over BLACK. When the right moment came to shoot, I'd know. 

And I did. DR and I were in the living room reading and working on the computer as the sun slowly set. Only when it was dark in the house did I realize this would be a perfect time to shoot! 

All of these are hand held, no tripod...just holding my breath and trying to stay as still as possible. 
These were fun and were all shot at 1/6sec, F5, ISO 1600

I'm on vacation right now and am not sure when I'll get to shoot the next couple weeks themes so I'll keep on eye out for both of them. 

Week 21 - Rest and Week 22 - Architecture

Friday, May 18, 2012

Foody Friday - Colcannon (Potato) Puffs

I love potatoes. I totally could have been Irish and eaten potatoes every day at every meal. I read, in The Irish Americans: A History, that before the Great Potato Famine (1845-1852) that the average Irish child consumed 5 pounds of potatoes a day! Just a child!! An adult consumed more! 

Anyway, back to food. I love potatoes and I always prepare too much of any kind of potato dish I make and am never short of leftover potatoes...usually mashed. 

But...I've found a yummy way to use up those extra mashed potatoes without resorting to simply throwing them back in the microwave. 

(Colcannon is a traditional name for an Irish potato dish) 

a couple cups of leftover mashed potatoes
a cup or so of spinach, cut or torn into small pieces
1t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder 
1/2 t. thyme
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. milk
2 T. corn starch

Preheat oven to 425. Combine all the ingredients and stir well. Using a well rounded tablespoon, form into balls. Place them on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully turn over and bake for 20 more minutes until lightly browned. 

Potatoes, potatoes....I could eat em' all day long! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dang, DR can sure burst my bubble.

Our family is preparing to head out on a trip back home to Indiana. 
900 glorious miles one way. yay. 

Five people's worth of clothes, toys, books, phones, blankets, and stuff needed for a trip to Indiana all needs to be packed nice and neat in the car. 

And who gets the job of packing and organizing???
This gal. 

Who can find any item of clothes, hair ties, lovey, Captain Underpants book tucked inside the car? 
This gal. 

Who manages to screw up and make a giant mess of all the bags on every family trip we've ever taken? 

As I was packing this week I decided to put on a duct tape tag on every bag labeled with exactly what can be found inside.  That way when DR needs a particular bag he knows exactly which one to grab rather than unzipping and rummaging in all the bags to find what he needs, which always results in a giant bag explosion in the car by the end of every road trip. 

So last night when he came home from work I excitedly explained my new label packing system and how it will keep us so much more organized on our trip and help save him time when we stop at the hotel. I was rather proud of myself.

He replied to me, "Honey, you are working under the assumption that I will actually read those labels on the bags." 

Men are jerks. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Buster the Backseat Beaver Book Review

Before I was married and became a stay at home mom I was an art teacher. I taught middle school art in fact for five years and loved it! I know,most people thought I was crazy teaching 11,12, and13 year old's but I always enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm, and yes even the sarcasm of middle school students. 

Of course all of my students are now in their twenties and some I have been lucky enough to meet up with again on Facebook. It's been really neat to see these students get married, have children and grow in their careers. One of my students has been getting very creative lately!! My former student Stuart Troxel has songs for sale on iTunes and has published a children's book; Buster the Backseat Beaver. (Watch out Ree Drummond!) 

Ha! I love how on the bottom of the cover Stuart's added his age after his name and really the title of the book was enough to pique my interest despite being written by one of my students. 

Every page is written in a similar pattern; 

see buster
see buster take a bath
buster takes a bath in outer space in a little town called the moon 

I enjoy the text because even beginner readers can read the start of the page and parents can get a kick out of the end of the page. Who wouldn't laugh at

"buster applies for a small business loan because he wants to open his own financial planning and screen door installation company"

I just love the illustrations too. Didn't he do a great job! They are big, bright and attractive to kids. The thing that I really like about Stuart's book is that his personality really shines through in the pictures and words. He always had a unique and quirky sense of humor! 

See this guy at the back of the theater? His face is hidden in the book four times. What's funny is that this guy, Justin, was another of my students. 

Way to go Stuart! I'm really proud that you've worked so hard and shared your creativity with others. It's a great book and I'm looking forward to more adventures of Buster the Backseat Beaver. 

You can find your own copy of Buster the Backseat Beaver at where you can also publish your own books. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Last day of school!!

Friday was the last day of school for my kids!! 
Woo Hoo!! 

Sorry, I'm not meaning to brag, Indiana friends, that we are done with school so much earlier than you are. Kansas is different after all. However, I did hear from a little birdie that we'll be the school year will be a week longer next year...I haven't told my boys yet though! I didn't think they'd make it through that last week! 

So Friday was the last day of school and like any last day of school Yip and Yap came home with backpacks full of broken crayons, gym shoes that are in mint condition and pencils. 

These were Yap's pencils. 
What's with that? Is he a beaver or something??

Friday, May 11, 2012

Foody Friday - Black Bean Summer Salad

Kansas weather can drive me crazy some days. Have you ever heard the expression, "Don't like the weather then wait 10 minutes and it will change?" It's definitely true for Kansas. This week's temperatures have been in the 70's but the thermometer hit 95 degrees last weeek!! It's not unusual for the heat to fluctuate   up or down 20 degrees in 24 hours. It almost doesn't faze me anymore. 

Last week's heat dampened any enthusiasm I had for cooking. (It's returned though, I made muffins today.) I know the heat will return with a vengeance this summer and I'm all for filling meals that don't require cooking. I was so happy I pinned this recipe on Pinterest; it was perfect for the heat! 

Black Bean Salad 
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans 
  • 1 can of corn 
  • 1 small onion, diced 
  • 1 large avocado peeled and diced
  • 3 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • handful of cilantro leaves, cut into small pieces 
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice juice (1/2 - 1 lime)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper1/2 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients. Chill and serve. 

I have a feeling I'll be making this a lot this summer! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Weeks 18 & 19 - Icy and Flexuous

Last week was crazy busy for me and I totally spaced the fact I needed to shoot my 52 week project for Week 18, Ice and didn't get a post up. So I'm playing catch up today by posting Weeks 18 and 19 together. 

I wasn't quite sure what would be a good way to approach it so I just tossed some ice on my driveway one evening. I did go back over and edit all these photos quite a bit. I decreased the brightness and increased the contrast to really make the colors of the driveway pop out. I definitely overexposed the ice and probably should have reshot but I didn't get a good look at the photos until evening. Snow and Ice are still things that are tricky for me to shoot. 

1/320 sec., f5.6, ISO 1600
1/320 sec., f5.6, ISO 1600
1/320 sec., f5.6, ISO 1600

Week 19 - Flexuous

Although I had an idea of what flexuous meant I still decided to look it up. 
flexuousFull of bends or curves; sinuous.

I thought my pea plants fit this week's theme very well! I love how the plants are getting all tangled together...a good sign of a healthy pea plant. 
1/125 sec., f10, ISO 1600 

1/125 sec., f10, ISO 1600 

1/100 sec., f10, ISO 1600 
I like this one the best. 

Week 20, wow 20 already?
Week 20 - Black 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

4H Archery

Last weekend the boys participated in our county's 4-H archery shoot. 
Thank goodness we finished before the temps reached the 90's that arrived in the afternoon. 

Checking to make sure we have the right arrows. 

Waiting for each arrow to be scored. 

Saluting Mom and the camera because he's a ham! 

Isn't that green grass gorgeous? Sooo much better than last year

Finally, what all the little boys had been waiting for....the 3D shoot! 
Shooting fake animals is so much more fun, and more difficult, than shooting at some boring old target. 

Now...if they'd only get old enough to go hunting for some real wild animals (yum)...this momma would be super happy! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Kansas summer has already arrived in the SW part of our state. The temps have been in the 90's for most of the last week or so. Curses to the heat because our town pool isn't open yet!! 

How to cool off? Even though we've received rain this spring the Ogalalla Aquifer levels have been dropping for the last three years, at least, so I don't want to go wasting a lot of water just to cool off. I've become quite the water miser since living in Kansas. 

Great toy for those hot summer days! I should make a whole garbage bag of these for the pool.

I found the instructions here to make these sponge ball water bombs at home from regular old kitchen sponges. All you need are sponges and zip ties! Yip and Yap cut up the sponges for me and I ziptied them all together while they were searching the garage for buckets. All together we had these put together in 10 minutes tops! They're cheap, they're durable and they're LOTS of fun! Best of all we didn't use a whole lot of water while playing with these, two buckets kept us busy for an hour. 

We only had yellow sponges at our little grocery but that didn't detract from the fun! 

Yahoo only wanted to sit in the water while her brothers attacked each other and me! 
Trust me, I was plenty wet after an hour of playing! 

Ha ha! The t-shirts didn't last long. 
Yip kept yelling as he threw the bombs, "Who's the king now?" 
Not sure what that was all about. 

I'm thinking these will be a lot of fun in the pool this summer too! 
Has your summer started yet? How are you cooling off? Or how are you planning to once summer does arrive? 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Marker Monday - Glittery Pop Bottle Bracelet

What little girl, or big girl, couldn't use a bit more bling in her life? 
Yahoo and I made up some glittery bracelets from pop bottles. 

I cut some strips of of plastic from a 7Up bottle and taped it down on a piece of cardboard. Then we used some glittery puffy paint to add designs. 

The puffy paint dried really quickly in just a couple of hours. 

Yahoo was taking a nap so I had to model our gorgeous new jewelry! Ha, ha! 
I had a piece of self stick velcro to the bracelet for a perfect fit. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails