House Mangement Binder - UPDATE!!! - AGAIN!

***I found a new printable monthly calendar for 2013 that is so cute!  Check it out here:  Monthly Calendars

Many of you have used and loved the Home Management Binder links I posted last year.  Today I found some new and valuable links.  I was researching some homeschool printables (lesson plan forms, schedule printables, etc) and found a website that is now a new favorite.  Check out this siteHere is the direct link to her household printables.

She has some calendar printables that are great in conjunction with some of my links as many of them are not for 2012.  She also has some cleaning checklists that you might find helpful. A lot of her calendars are blank and not already dated which will allow you to use the same printable each year instead of finding a new one every year.  Just save the file so you have it for reference.  Never trust that the link will be there next year!

Happy Organizing


Sketch Tuesday: Pen and ink

Drawing and sketching have always been apart of my life, but it seems like life just gets in the way sometimes. There's always something else more pressing calling for my attention.

Recently, however, I've been picking up a pen or pencil and doing some sketching. It is probably the most relaxing past time when the day just seems to be stressful.

Anyway, here is one of my recent creations.  It's hanging next to the table where we do the majority of our homeschooling every day.

I've been trying to draw at least once a week. The best part is watching the kids join in and seeing their little minds quiet down and find peace as well. It doesn't matter what the end result looks like, just draw.


Oh, how I miss you!

I have missed my sewing machine for far too long.  It broke about a year ago and I have been left without and beyond sad about it along the way.  Don't ask me why I never replaced it... I just didn't.  Alanna (my almost 7 year old... ahhh!) asked and got a sewing machine for Christmas.  So, I'm back at it.  Albeit in a very different way, but back at the creating none the less.  It feels good.  Really good.

Alanna was looking at my blog last night and asked why I don't use it anymore.  I really couldn't give her a good answer.  Her response was simple... lets both make things to post!  Ok.  Why not?

It might not be as often as I would like, but our hopes are to post on this blog often with tips on sewing with children, sewing for children, crafts, crafts with kids and for kids... etc.  You get the point.

This is my favorite part of homeschooling.  Having the time during the day (after the school work is done) to do fun activities like teaching my 7 year old to make clothes for herself and her american girl doll. :)  It doesn't get better than this!

So, hopefully we can keep up and rejoin the blog world in a whole new way.  We're still planning on how things will look and feel, but you can be sure that there is more to come. :)  YAY!


Frui Pizza - gluten free/dairy free

Yesterday was the first 4th of July we have ever spent at home without friends or family.  I was bummed at first, but it turned out to be such a great day.  We went to the parade, had a wet sponge contest, bbq chicken on the grill, and, of course, the fireworks.  

My favorite fireworks photo from last night.

Every 4th of July we have a fruit pizza.  It's a family favorite.  But this year, we had a dilemma.  How do you make a GOOD gluten free/dairy free fruit pizza?  Well, I took on the task and it produced some awesome results!  So good!

Looks great, right?


GF cookie crust
½ cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil (or use a margarine)
1 large egg
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons GF vanilla
1 ½ cup GF flour*
1 teaspoon xanthan gum 
1 ½ teaspoon GF baking powder
Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a cookie sheet or pizza pan. 
Cream first 6 ingredients.  Add the remaining 3 ingredients.  The dough will be soft.  Place the dough on the prepared sheet and gently press the dough in place.  Cooke for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.  Cool a few moments and gently pull the cookie sheet off of the pan.  Place it on a large platter or cutting board.  While this bakes, make the glaze.
1 c. sugar
4 tbsp. cornstarch
dash of salt
3/4 c. water
1 c. orange juice
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice (I used two lemons)
Place all ingredients into a small pot.  Cook until the sauce is thickened.  Once thickened, remove from heat and put in the fridge to cool.  While the glaze cools, mix the filling and prepare the fruit.

Dairy Free Filling
1 container Tofutti better than cream cheese
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat all ingredients with a mixer until well blended. 
Any seasonal fruit can be used here.  I simply used strawberries and blueberries this time.  Just wash it, let it dry and cut it up.  Slice strawberries and kiwi.  Cut raspberries, blackberries and grapes in half (or leave whole if you prefer).  Cut pineapple into chunks.
Once the cookie crust is cool, pour on your dairy free filling and spread evenly.  Place your cut fruit on top in any pattern you like.  Pour glaze on top of the fruit and chill until ready to serve.


Egg sandwich

Today for lunch I fried an egg. But I really didn't want JUST an egg. Again. So I pulled out the vegan cream cheese (chive and garlic), and spread it on a corn tortilla and topped it with onions and tomatoes. So yummy and simple.


Vegan Nutella

I still haven't had time for crafting, but the dairy free and gluten free diet has enabled me to find some killer awesome recipes.  Even more so now that I have put my oldest son on the same diet.  The changes in him have been astonishing!  Needless to say, it's been a bit of a challenge for him since the start of his diet.  So as a reward, I made him a vegan version (dairy free) of his favorite treat... nutella.  If you or your children love nutella, you need to try this recipe.  Even if you do not need to eat dairy free, you should switch to this instead to avoid all of those unnecessary, bad for you ingredients.  Just read the label and you'll see what I mean!

First off, whether you use this recipe or another, make sure it calls for real chocolate, not just cocoa powder.  I assure you, it makes all the difference in the world!

 2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
12 ounces vegan chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp vegetable or nut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp of confectioners sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast until the skins of the hazelnuts are dark, 12-15 minutes.

While the nuts cool, melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth.  Cool. 

Grab a handful of nuts and rub in your hands (over a bowl) as though making a ball of dough.  This will remove the skins, which are bitter.  Don't worry if you are unable to remove all of the skins, just get most of them.  Process nuts in a food processor (not a blender... it won't work) until a paste is formed.  This takes awhile.  Be patient! 

Add the oil, vanilla, sugar, salt.  Blend until you have a smooth consistancy (it probably won't be perfectly smooth... that's ok!!!)

Add the melted chocolate and blend until mixed.

You can strain the mixture to remove the bits of hazelnut if you prefer, but I don't think it's necessary. 

Let it cool in the fridge and you will have a great texture as it thickens when it cools.  ENJOY!!!


Gluten free Salads

Over the last 4 months I have been on a gluten and dairy free diet.  Not by choice, mind you.  When you learn that you have a food allergy, there is this sense of relief and frustration all at the same time.  The relief is because you finally know what has been keeping you from feeling healthy for as long as you can remember.  The frustration comes because you have to learn a new way of life.  

Doesn't it seem that everything in life is based around food?  Food has become less of a main part of life in that I don't center my time with family and friends around it anymore.  Going out for dinner is no longer enjoyable because of the hassle that comes along with it.  Instead, we eat at home.  It's actually saved us so much money as opposed to costing us so much. 

The sad thing has been realizing that some of the kids have a gluten issue as well.  The behavior they exhibit when they have gluten is ridiculous! 

All of this to say, it's been a challenge, but it is so worth it.  If you have questions about gluten and/or dairy free, feel free to ask and I will help you the best I can or direct you to someone or something that can.

During this journey, I have discovered some amazing recipes and made some great ones myself.  Some of you have been asking for those recipes and here are a few for you to enjoy.

For nearly all of my salads I use an organic spring mix.  If you're not a fan of spring mix, experiment!  Also, I don't usually use measurements when making a salad dressing.  Dressing is usually 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar.  Add your seasonings to taste.

Most of these are concoctions made by myself or my mom.

Today I came up with this crazy salad recipe that turned out to be SOOO GOOD!!!

Here it is:

spring lettuce mix
1 green onion
a few canned mandarin oranges
raisins, craisins or dried cherries
dark chocolate roasted almonds
1 orange
extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Cover a plate with salad and top with 1 sliced green onion (using the white and green parts) a few mandarin oranges some raisins and some almonds.  If you do not have the chocolate almonds (these are not chocolate covered, but covered with cocoa powder), use regular almonds instead and put some cocoa powder in your dressing.  in a bowl, juice 1 orange.  add a bit of oil (maybe 3-4 tablespoons) and enough red wine vinegar to add a bit of tartness (just add to taste).  Pour on your salad and add salt and pepper.

Greek Salad

1/2 green pepper
1/2 cucumber
a handful of cherry tomatoes
1/4 red onion
16 kalamata olives
a few banana peppers
fresh or dried basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano 
salt & pepper
Feta cheese (omit if dairy free)

Cut your veggies into chunks.  Slice the onion.  Pit and cut the olives in half. put the veggies and feta into a bowl.  Mix oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper well in a small bowl, pour over your salad and toss gently.  

Asian Salad

sliced leftover chicken
salt and pepper
6 cups shredded Napa cabbage
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely sliced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 English (hot house) cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 c. creamy nut butter of your choice (peanut is perfect here)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. freshly grated ginger (or use dried, ground ginger)
a bit of honey (just a bit to taste
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
cilantro leaves - chopped

Mix the salad and place onto a serving plate.  top with chicken, carrots, bell pepper, green onions, and cucumber.  In a bowl,  mix but butter, vinegar, oil, ginger, and honey.  Top with sesame seeds and cilantro.

*with this recipe, play around with the veggies you use.  Just use what you have.  You can also skip the chicken and use almonds instead.

Mexican salad

Romaine lettuce
green onions
black beans
hardboiled egg
extra virgin olive oil
white or apple cider vinegar
cayenne pepper
chili powder
garlic (or garlic powder)
salt & pepper

Put your lettuce in a bowl and add veggies, beans, and egg.  In a small bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, cumin cayenne pepper, garlic and salt and pepper.  Pour on top of salad and toss.

*You could top this with crushed tortilla or corn chips as well.  You can also choose one protein by omitting the beans or egg.