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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Felt Board Fun!

Thanks to my friend Mandi on, I've started tons of felt board fun with my son. My church had this felt board they were getting rid of and I started making everything to put on it. So far his favorite thing to put on the board is the coconut tree tailored after Chicka, Chickan, Boom, Boom. As I'm typing he's saying, "mom, you have to come here and see my coconut tree". So off I go.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our little Joshua!

Here is my sweet baby at 6 1/2 months old. How handsome! This was the first time he ever wore bib overalls. And then of course I LOVE him in hats:)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How Groundhog's Garden Grew

I happened across this delightful book at our local library. It is so neat! I encourage you to check it out or purchase it for your little one. My almost 4 year old loved it! I of course had to paraphrase, however the illustrations are amazing! What better book to read than something about spring!

As far as the illustrations, when it talks about planting seeds, there are pictures of seeds on the edges of the pages. When it talks about the bugs in the garden, there are pictures of the different kinds of bugs you might find in a garden on the edges of those pages. So neat!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A day in my life of....

I was going to do an entire post on a day in the life of the Kaake family. However, after picking up my bible, I thought I would share these words with you. They are not my own, but the Lords.

Romans 2:11 (NASB) For there is no partiality with God.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Filet Mignon, Chicken and more...

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and we decided to eat in. The wonderful family we get our meat from gave us 2 filets. Matthew and I decided to use them for Valentine's Day and boy were they good!

Matt's plate of filet, mashed potatoes and carrots. The carrots were from Door to Door Organics and the filet was from Turtlebee and Honeytree Farms in Byron, Michigan. The carrots were lightly steamed then put into a baking dish with butter and maple syrup. They roasted for about 10 minutes. The mashed potatoes were inspired by Rachel Ray. We put 5 cloves of peeled garlic in the pot while we cooked the potatoes. Yum! You can find the recipe for the filet here.

Lyshie's chicken, potatoes and carrots. Here is the recipe Matt found for the chicken.

Jon's macaroni and cheese - his favorite food! He also had chicken and carrots.

Gotta love good company and good food!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Chocolate Testing

Matt and I had such a fun time with our own at home chocolate tasting. I encourage you to try this sometime. It's amazing how trying the chocolates next to each other changes things . Some tips I found online were:

1. Have a glass of water or plain green tea to clean your palate in between each taste.
2. Start with milk chocolate and move to dark chocolate.
3. Snap the chocolate first. Good chocolate should have a good snap (according to "them").
4. Move each bit of chocolate around your mouth hitting all your taste buds.

Our findings:
1. Symphony
Not very snappy
Quite sweet
Not very ‘chocolaty’

2. Dollar tree million dollar bar
Clean snap
Not chocolaty… almost fruity

3. Dove
Slightly softer than previous 2
Very smooth rich creamy flavor
More chocolate flavor than previous 2

4. Ghirardelli 83% cocoa
Very snappy
Not at all creamy
Very bitter
Slightly fruity at end of bite
(spit out by matt)

5. Lindt Dark 70% cacao
Clean snap
Deeper chocolate smell than #4
Not creamy (but more so than #4)
Not as bitter as #4
Fruity aftertaste

Mandi's Favorites From Most Favorite to Least:
Dollar Tree

Matt's Most Favorite to Least:
Dollar Tree

Something I just need to throw out there since it is Valentine's Day. I want to thank my mom for making every Valentine's Day special for us. She also made sure we had an extra special meal with hearts of some kind in it. And, of course chocolate too:) That is one of the many fond memories I have of growing up. Thanks mom for making all those years so special! I only hope I can make it at least half as special for my family.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Homeschool Valentine's Party

This year makes our 3rd Valentine's Party for the Olive Branch Homeschoolers. What a super fun night! The kids and parents alike had a wonderful time. It's such a blessing getting together with fellow home educators. We all use different curriculum's and teaching styles, however one thing remains the same - we are raising our children at home for the Lord. What a huge blessing to be able to be on this journey together. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. Each and every person there was and is such a blessing in our lives. God is so good!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Babywearing in the Winter!

I have looked and looked online at an amazing babywearing coat that while on sale is still almost $100! Not quite in the budget. While going through older maternity clothing and things I no longer wear, I found this maternity coat. I purchased it before I was pregnant with Jon (in the hopes of getting pregnant) and never wore it! It got it for around $5 used but in great shape. Long story short, I thought this could possibly work while I am babywearing. I tried it tonight just before we headed out for the library. It indeed worked! So there you go.

As you can see, Joshua is totally content :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fun Kids Recipes - Playdough and more!

Here you will find fun and non-toxic/less toxic recipes for your children. If you have one you’d like us to try out and possibly add, please send your name and recipe to Enjoy!
What you need:
2 cups cool water
1/2 cup dish liquid
2 tablespoons sugar or agave nectar

What to do:
-Mix all together very slowly trying to not form bubbles.
-Dip wand in - do not stir.
Depending on the type of dish liquid you use - some can be much more toxic than other’s. I used a natural brand along with agave nectar instead of sugar. I actually purchased premade bubble’s, dumped out the containers, rinsed and used those to put my bubble solution in.
What you need:
1/2 cup salt
5-6 drops food coloring

What to do:
-Mix together 1/2 cup salt and 5-6 drops food coloring.
-Cook in microwave 1-2 minutes or let air dry.
-Store in an airtight container.
Finger Paint - I have not tried this yet but plan to soon.
What you need:
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch or flour
2 cups cold water
food coloring

What to do:
-Mix cornstarch and sugar in pan.
-Add water and stir. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Mixture will boil, then thicken. -Remove from heat and cool.
-Separate into 4-5 cups and add food coloring one drop at a time.
Add a drop of dish soap for easy clean up.
Paint on cardboard, posterboard or paper.
Ornaments (cinnamon) - My mom used to make these a lot.
What you need:
3/4 - 1 cup applesauce
4.12 oz bottle cinnamon (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)

What to do:
-Mix together well. Divide into 4 portions. Roll out each portion with a piece of wax paper/parchment paper on top and on bottom of dough. 
-Cut in desired shapes and put a hole in the top with a straw or similar object to be able to later string some ribbon through.
-Bake at 200 for 2 1/2 hours and cool on wire rack. Let stand 1-2 days turning occasionally.
-String ribbon through hole and knot at the end.
Playdough - I got this from my friend Trudi
What you need:
2 cups water
3 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon cream of tartar (or alum)

What to do:
-Boil 2 cups water and 3 tablespoons oil.
-Add them to the rest of the above ingredients and mix well.
-Add food coloring and knead like bread dough. Be careful - it’s hot!
*Add more flour if it’s too sticky. This stuff seems to last forever.
Recycled Crayons
What you need:
broken crayons
old muffin tin - used only for crafts - not food

What to do:
-Put small pieces of crayons into muffin tin. Put in an oven that has just been used to cook on (energy saving!). Let melt. 
-Once melted let cool and pop out.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Maple Pecans

Mmmm, can you say amazing! I always look for recipes that are yummy and sweet without using refined sugars. Sometimes I'm successtul and sometimes I am not. However, this time was a winner! Dh even thinks these nuts are very good.

Maple Pecans
2 cups pecans (or other nuts)
1/3 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt

Heat a medium sized skillet and pour in your maple syrup.

Add in nuts and sprinkle with a bit of salt.

Keep stirring around now and then till most of the liquid has adhered to the nuts.

Pour nuts out onto parchment or wax paper to dry.

Store these in an airtight container or bag.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Do You Know Your Child's Love Language?

I remember awhile back when I was first married, I dove into the book The FIve Love Languages. This helped me learn much more about my spouse and how he communicates with his love language. What a difference that has made.

Taking that a step further, I have been looking for the love languages in my children. They too need to be loved in a way they understand. I have not yet read the book that was made for children but I believe the concept is probably the same. What have I found out?

Lyshie's main love language is gift giving. That is followed up by words of affirmation. Let me give you an example. Lyshie loves to purchase and make gifts for everyone around her. To her, that is the way she shows them love. In turn, the way you show Allysha love is by getting/making her gifts. The same thing rings true with words of affirmation. She needs to know she's doing a great job in her chores and school, etc... That is also the way she shows love - by telling others how well they are doing.

Jonathan's main love language is words of affirmation and physical touch. Jonathan daily will say "mom, I just love you". We've made sure to let him know daily with our words that we love him too. This is followed by physical touch. Jon LOVES to have his back rubbed and in turn loves to do that for others. He's just sure it makes them feel great.

As far as Joshua, we are still learning more about him. I'm thinking he'll be quality time and touch but I'm not sure as of yet.

What about your children ? Do you know their love language? If not, find out what it is. When you do, I encourage you to show them love in their own language.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Redecorating the bathroom.

I felt I needed a more beautiful bathroom after I looked at some pictures on my mom's blog. However, I didn't have any money at all to spend on it. So, I went around looking for things I wasn't using to put in my bathroom. Some things were being used in other places, so I just snatched them up. The ultimate would be to have a gorgeous antique looking mirror underneath my linens sign and a white bathroom stand with shelving or cupboards to put in place of the "white" whicker stand. Dh would also like to put a jacuzzi in place of the shower. All in time. For now we'll enjoy what we have:)

Below is a candle I found and wrapped in some sheer ribbon I had lying around. I just quickly hot glued the ends together in the back of the candle.

I didn't have proper tie backs so I just put this floral piece on a nail I nailed in the wall.

I did the same thing here with the curtains at the top. I had some white round circles that had little clips hanging down from them. I pounded 3 nails in the wall above the window. I then put the little white circle hook on the nail then attached silk flowers over the nail head. The clips just attached to the top of the curtain.

My mother got me this GORGEOUS fairy bird feeder awhile back for either a birthday or Christmas gift. Isn't she gorgeous!

Relax...that's the feel I was going for when decorating. My mom got me this adorable pillow many years ago. I bet she has no idea I still have it.

The shower curtain was in my daughters room so we trade. We got this from my mother a few years ago. It was in a box of stuff to go to Goodwill (or some such place). Lyshie now has my white and purple floral curtain in her bathroom. I don't think you can see it well enough but the detail in the top of this curtain is just gorgeous! Mom also made the linens sign you see above the wicker stand. She put it in her garage sale and I scooped it up for the amazingly low price of $3!!

My shelving still needs to be painted white. Hubby made this for me for Christmas. I was so excited!

I now have a more lovely bathroom. I can't wait to soak in the tub by candlelight tonight:)

Just in case you're on the lookout for a beautiful and unique gift for someone, or a special something for yourself, please stop over at my mom's Etsy store. Wayside Treasures has GORGEOUS, one of a kind items that you will not find anywhere else.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfasts rotate between eggs and oatmeals. Lunches are any leftovers or whatever we can find. lol! Below are the dinner meals for the next two weeks for our family.

Chicken and Rice soup with homemade bread and applesauce.

Wet burritos and salad.

Pancakes, breakfast meat and fruit.

Baked chicken with parm and buttered noodles and salad.

Matt's homemade pizza and antipasta salad.

Burgers and sweet potato patties.

Baked potato bar with salad with grilled chicken.

Goulash and veggies.

Grilled bbq chicken, and potato salad.

Chili, cornbread and applesauce.

Breakfast for dinner.

Matt's homeamde pizza and salad.