Sunday, April 24, 2011

How Does your garden grow? Week 3 update

It has been 3 weeks since we started our little garden. Last week-end the only thing not making an appearance were the cantaloupe plants. Not a single little cantaloupe plant was coming up! I wasn't sure if the seeds were all bad or if I some how forgot to plant them. I replanted them last week-end and about half of them are showing now. Looks like I must have forgot to plant them.
We bought tomato plants. They've been in the ground 2 weeks.
The squash plants and grass are looking good.

The cilantro is coming up. 

We planted 8 blueberry bushes. After a couple of weeks we noticed the leaves were disappearing off a few of the plants so we bought wildlife netting and covered them. This has stopped the deer, but didn't go over well with the snake.
Poor guy, he must have tried to go through at least 20 holes in the netting and was stuck for good. 

This post is linked to Smockity Frocks Frugal Gardening 101.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

See The Light ~ Free DVD offer

Art is one of those subjects that often gets pushed to the back burner of our homeschooling. Even though I love art, I couldn't draw a stick person to save my life. I have sent my children to art classes, but it's difficult to take them to all of the extra curricular activities and have you seen what some people charge??! Well, last week I received a free sample copy of See The Light DVD art classes. We watched them today and they are wonderful. I love that she uses basic supplies, incorporates truth from the Word, and the best part..... we don't have to leave the house! You can purchase the whole 9 volume series containing 36 lessons for $99.99. See The Light is still offering a free sample DVD. Go here to request yours. Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Get a free tree at Lowe's on April 23

If you are heading out to Lowe's tomorrow for this free kid's workshop then make sure to pick up a free tree while you're there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Raising Homemakers ~ Lesson 2 ~ Baking Bread

In this lesson we learned about baking bread. This is familiar territory for our girls because all their mamas love to bake bread. We used some freshly ground wheat in our bread, but this recipe will work well with all white flour too.

Items to cover in this lesson:

  • Yeast~ Yeast is a tiny living plant. Cool! It's even mentioned in the Bible. Check out the verses at Bible Gateway.
  • Types of yeast~ dry, active, rapid rise. What makes them different?
  • What makes yeast grow?
  • Different types of flour, white, wheat, freshly ground wheat
  • How to measure flour ~ scoop the flour into your measuring cup and gently run a the straight edge of a knife across the rim to level the flour.
  • How do you knead bread. This is the fun part! We used a three step method, fold-push-turn   
  • Fold~ flatten the dough and fold it in half toward you.                                                               
  • Push~ using the heels of your hands, push the dough down and away from you.         
  • Turn~ turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat.

hard white wheat before grinding

freshly ground hard white wheat

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups freshly ground whole wheat
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons yeast

Combine water, oil, and honey. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit a couple of minutes then stir to combine. Mix in flour and salt. Knead for 5-10 min. Let dough rest for 30 min. Knead again for 5 min. Let rest again for 30 min. Knead for 1 min. and shape into loaf. Let dough rise in loaf pan in warm place for 30-45 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. When done, let cool in pan a couple of minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

I use this recipe almost daily. I place all ingredients in my bread maker and run the dough cycle then I let it rise and bake in a loaf pan. I have recently starting using less unbleached flour and more whole wheat and it has worked well. I find that using an electric knife works best for slicing bread.

The girls showing off their loaf shaping skills
You can find lesson 1 here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Banana Creme Whoopie Pies

This was my first time making whoopie pies and they were delicious!

Banana Creme Whoopie Pies
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 package cream cheese (8oz.) softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Additional powdered sugar for dusting

1. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl combine banana and buttermilk. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Gradually add to creamed mixture alternating with the banana mixture.
2. Drop by tablespoons 2 in. apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet. (I used a Silpat) Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 min or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely.

3. Filling: Beat together cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread about 1 tablespoon of filling on bottom side of cookie and then top with another cookie. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator, if you have any leftovers ;) These pies are best right after they are prepared. Our left over whoopie pies were sticky after being stored in the refrigerator.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Great Lands End Sale!

Lands End is having a family and friends sale through April 11. You can get 30% off your order and free shipping when you use the promotion code FAMILYSHARE and pin 6319. 
Here are a few deals I found:

Get this boy's Microfleece hat for $1.39!

They also have boy's trekkers for the same price.

Time to stock up on t-shirts!

Monday, April 4, 2011

How does your garden grow?

We had such nice weather this past week-end! We were able to pull the weeds out of the raised beds and get the seeds in the ground.

We started these raised beds last year. We put in a variety of dirt, potting soil, composted manure, peat moss, you name it, if Lowes sold it we put it in there. I thought they all must be good dirt so we needed a little of each. Well, the beds didn't turn out so well. We got a handful of produce for about $200 worth of dirt and seeds! We were trying to go the organic route without any fertilizer. NOT this year. Along with the seeds, we mixed in some triple 13 fertilizer.

You can see here that last year's sage is doing well.

Last year's oregano is also doing well. In fact, it's already bigger than it was last year!

We planted cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupe, purple hulls peas, kidney beans, squash, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, parsley, basil, and cilantro. I am going to plant some okra, zucchini, and tomato plants later.
I'll update as things start to grow.

Don't forget to check out the Free Garden Planner Printables here.

This post is linked to Smockity Frocks Frugal Gardening 101

Friday, April 1, 2011

Free Veggie Seeds & Gloves from Annie's Naturals

Annie's Naturals and are inspiring kids to dig real food.
When you buy 2 Annie's products between 1/15/2011 and 4/30/2011 you can fill out this form to get a free gardening gift pack. I hope these gloves will inspire my kids to pull more weeds ;)