Friday, February 28, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

So, I have had a couple extra children staying at my house for a while. Two three year olds to be exact. And there is something I have learned about 3 year olds.... they LOVE mac and cheese. They would have it every day if they could. But, I like variation. So I have challenged myself to discover new ways with some of their favorites, to keep them eating and to keep my husband and I sane. Here is my newest variation on mac and cheese. I am sure I am not the first to come up with this idea. Most likely if I Google it, I will find several versions of the same idea, but we had fun coming up with this so thought I would share how we did it. Today's mac and cheese variation is Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.

    First thing's first. Cook your macaroni and your chicken. I think you know how to do that, right? Yeah, thought so.I won't bore you with the details. Chop up the chicken. Once you get that taken care of, combine them in a 9x13 baking dish, along with 2 cups of your favorite cheese. Like this! (note, I jumped the gun and took the pic before cheese, but you still get the idea, right?)

         Now that that is combined, we are going to make the sauce for it. You start this by melting the butter in your sauce pan. Once that is melted, you need to wisk in the flour. Now, if you have never made a sauce like this let me warn you... Have the milk right handy before this stage. Unless you have an awesome partner at your disposal (thank you Super Husband) that will run and get the milk for you so you don't burn the butter/ flour mixture. Once those are combined, wisk in your milk. Keep wisking until it thickens. At this point is where I added the ranch dressing (or blue cheese depending on your taste) and the hot sauce. I am not going to tell you how much hot sauce to add. I would say that is a personal taste preference. But if you ask me, the more the better! If you ask the little ones in my house, I don't believe they would agree with me.  So this is what you now have.

             Did I happen to mention yet that you need to chop up celery? Well, you do. And if haven't done so, I guess now is a good time to do that. Pour the sauce over your mac/chicken/cheese mixture. Make sure it seeps down in real well. No need to really stir it in, just jiggle the pan a bit to make sure it coats well. Now top it off with that celery you just chopped up and a handful of cheese ( that is an official measurement, right?)
    Pop this baby in the oven preheated to 400 degrees and bake it for about 20 mins. Enjoy!

                                      Buffalo Mac and Cheese

                              3 Chicken breasts
                              1 box of elbow macaroni
                              2 ribs of celery   (see a pattern here? Breasts, elbows and ribs??Lame, I know)
                              about 2 1/2 -3 cups of cheese of your choice (I used Colby jack)
                              4 Tlbs butter
                              1/4 cup flour
                              2 cups milk
                              1/2 cup ranch
                              1/4 cup- how ever much you love of red hot sauce


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Michaelmas Celebration

 After 10 years of homeschooling, we have recently found a group of families that homeschool and parent in the same kind of ideas that we are trying to bring to our own family. We have been so very blessed to be able to come together with this group weekly for a circle time with the younger ones. The children are able to play in nature and listen to beautiful  stories and create and sing and just. be. children.
 This past weekend our little group got together and held our Michaelmas celebration. At our previous circle time we prepared by having each child decorate a paper bag however they wished.

Then, on the day of the celebration, the mama who was hosting the gathering put the bags together to form our dragon. After some free playing time, the children gathered to hear a story about dragons. Then they listen to the story of Michael and how he slayed the dragon with his fiery sword.

The kids all went off to find something that they could magically transform into a sword. For they had a task that lay ahead of them!
With sticks in hand, they repeated the magic words that turned them into swords. Just in time too, because around the corner a dragon emerged! Our brave guardians fearlessly fought the dragon.

Our victors emerge with their trophy!

And then sent him to the fiery pit forever! (Or at least until next Michaelmas... )

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Beautiful Waldorf

    Waldorf. When I think of this educational philosophy, I can't help but think of beautiful childhood. Simple. We have been on our homeschooling journey for 10 years now. The last 6 have been inspired by the Waldorf method. I am no expert on it. I have not even come close to being as much of a purist that I would like to be. I have not yet been able to completely get rid of the tv, or those wonderful gifts of plastic toys that so many well meaning people have gifted my children. Yet, what we have been able to incorporate into our lives, have simply made it beautiful. Especially how our children learn. Today I had to reflect on this as my 6th grade son was working on his geometry lesson. The other children were so drawn to what he was doing, that they all did one of their own. I know that my little princess, who is 7, is not in the same place in her life that this is for her, nor is my little man who is only 5. This is where I say we use Waldorf as an inspiration. Homeschooling 4 children, the younger ones are bound to want to have a taste of what the older ones are doing, I mean, seriously, when you see something so beautiful, you would be intrigued as well wouldn't you? And I let them work on it. And we also do the stories that speak to each of them. And when they grow older, they will redo these lessons they are sharing with their older brother, because at that point, it will speak to them in a whole other way. And in my opinion, that is perfect for us. Today, as with many other days,  I realized that we have been so very fortunate to have been lead to this way of teaching our children. My 6th grader would not be so into his math lesson had the results not been so captivating. I doubt he would be coming to the table with so much anticipation if I were just handing him worksheets. Funny how the things we are looking for tend to find us and just seem to work....beautifully!

Friday, March 8, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Birth on Our Little Homestead

How exciting it was to take our morning trip out to the barn to find new life! Our little Sara goat gave birth to a sweet little billy. Truth be told, we were not even sure she was pregnant so we didnt know if or when to expect a delivery. She is quite the good little mama. I am very eager to be getting fresh goat milk again and get to making more soap! Miss Rachel, Sara's mama, is getting quite large, and she is showing signs of labor so hopefully, soon we will have babies from her as well!This comes at such a good time since my Jersey cow is drying up and now we shall have milk from the goats untill she freshens again. Starting out fresh on our little homestead has been one learning experience after another. Will we ever have it all figured out? Most likely not. But be certainly enjoy the learning process that goes into it. I apreciate all that God has given to us and pray we can be good stewards of it.
Little lady holding the new baby

My Little guy holding the new baby. Excuse the no shirt, he had a "new" shirt we got
from the thrift store Sat on and he didn't want to get it dirty.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Apron

Oh a little girl and her apron. There is just something so sweet about the two. "Mama, I want to wear and apron just like you." Words to soften a mama's heart.Her apron was a half apron... and mine is a full her half apron just isn't cutting it for her anymore. Not to mention it is old of course. I made this for her about 3 years ago.
                                                                 My little lady in her "old" apron
So she would love a new apron. But not any new apron. This one must be made by her. She has decided that I make mine, she shall make hers. So we set off to the sewing room for my little lady to make her own. And then... she finished and now must put on her new creation. I think the apron transformed her, because as soon as she put it on, downstairs she went to fix her brothers a snack. Oh the things an apron can do... I am truely blessed to be able to share these moments with her and to teach her these skills that she can use for life.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Well... my littlest one has turned 5. Oh what a milestone five feels like to such a little guy. He feels so big now, he even told me he is pretty sure he felt himself grow a little over night.
I have been wanting a make a birthday ring for my children for some time now. As I ventured into my project, it got the interest of my husband. As we looked for birthday rings to make we came across this post that features a star birthday ring made by Grimm.He found that one to be very interesting and so we set off to make a similar one. Ours only has 6 points. I think it turned out quite nice for our first try. Oh, and Nature Daddy also had an idea of something he wanted to add to it. The kids love this hanging candel holder I got for Christmas, so he made a base for our birthday ring and a hanger for the candle holder. I thought it was very nice addition to our centerpeice.
The cake I was making for him was supposed to be a mushroom gnome house. Unfortunatly I didn't wait long enough before putting the icing on. I knew better, really I did. I was just in a hurry and, well, I am sure you've been there before. You realize after the fact, "If I only waited!" The mushroom was made with a recipe I found for black bean cake. It turned out really Yummmy! I decided to make the frosting with coconut oil. (That is why I REALLY should have let the cake completely cool before icing. Cocnut oil melts at something like 76 degrees. Should have should have! Oh well) The frosting tasted amazing! I will post my recipe at the end of this post for you to try. Oh, but I forgot to tell you. Mama got frustated with the cake and walked away. Big 14 yr old brother stepped in and finished it up for me. I was so proud of him! I didn't get a good picture of the cake but you can see it behind the birthday ring. I just may have to turn more of the birthday cakes over to him!
And here is the present I made for him. I made him a gnome's mushroom house playmat. I also cut him a gnome with my scroll saw, somehow he didn't end up in the picture though. I am sure plenty more gnomes will be added before long though. Oh, as promised, here is the recipe for the coconut oil frosting. Coconutty Frosting 1/2 c virgin coconut oil 1 1/2 lb-2lb powder sugar 1 can coconut milk 1t vanilla pinch of salt Make sure the coconut oil is soft. cream it in the mixer. Then add about a pound of the powder sugar. mix it well and add the creamier portion of the can of coconut milk. I never added the watery part. Add vanilla and salt and blend well for a few minutes. If it isn't thick enough add more powder sugar. I also added, only because I had it on hand, a little bit of coconut palm sugar. It gave it just a little more cocnutty flavor. Now, MAKE SURE, your cake is COOLED before using this icing! Enjoy!