Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Winter's Day, recipes and more

I'm sitting here today listening to the crazy winds outside my house; and grateful for a warm place to call home. The snow is whipping and I see the snow covered vehicles are crawling down the road. I had to see my Kathleen get safely on the bus this morning. I don't think I'm going to get used to the fact that the school system here sends them in bad weather conditions. It only takes one careless driver to change so many lives. So I say a prayer as she pulls away and I keep busy making our house a "home" and await her return. Hayley is safely at home today, but dealing with some things from our accident...a long road ahead.

Homemaking has many areas and one important one is for my girl's to eat well and be able to focus during the day and that is with a good nutritious lunch. Now, I'll be first to say cheese on white bread would not be a first choice, but for Kathleen being so picky when she eats; I'll happily make it to know she is not hungry at school. I am fortunate she loves her fruit, so today I sliced up some kiwis and washed some grapes. To the left is all natural yogurt coated pretzels, and with the fruit a small mint. I also try to juice a fresh juice for her thermos or send in a water bottle. Included each day in her lunch is a joke, a riddle and a special note from mom. Apparently I've become quite popular at the lunch table along with Kathleen as everyone rushes to see what I've sent in for the day, both notes and food wise. ;-)  It's the little things. I used to do this with Hayley's lunches as well, but apparently it is not cool at 13....who knew? LOL! My girls do not buy school lunches and I do my best to keep them eating healthy, this past year was tough for us and we got a bit off track sometimes, especially during the move and setting up our home. But it's a new year and I'm back to getting things in order and it sure feels great! The more organized I am the more efficiently everything else runs.

Something else the girl's enjoy is when I make homemade fruit roll-ups. They may not be "beautiful" but they are tasty and healthy! Simple to make, just takes time. Simply blend 3 pints of strawberries with a little honey in a blender. Lay out parchment paper on a cookie sheet and pour the mixture on top, keeping a rectangle shape even and a certain thickness. Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 2-3 hours ( be sure it is not sticky when removing, but don't over cook or it will be too hard). Let cool 3 hours or over night. (I find overnight worked better) Cut into strips, roll them up and you have one happy child! :-) I like to tie it up with curly ribbon or, regular ribbon or even string will work. Then I put it in her lunch box and store the extras in an air tight container or a Ziploc baggie.

You then have a very happy child! ;-)

Jerry enjoys when I make fresh breads and muffins for him for work.... o.k. he enjoys anything I make for him... lol. I usually send in extra for his workers as well. So many single guys that have no one to cook for them so I don't mind. :-) This is cinnamon raisin bread; just serve it slightly warmed with a little butter or jelly and delicious! All natural ingredients and yup better eat it quickly because there's no preservatives here to have it lasting for days!

Another item I make is homemade whole wheat bread crumbs, preferably from bread I've made, but sometimes finding a good quality bread in the store to use is ok too. Super easy, add bread pieces to food processor and chop. Spread on baking sheet and bake for about 20 mins at 300 degrees; being sure to stir up in between (about 10 min mark) so it cooks evenly. Use right away or freeze for later.

Next to it in this picture is homemade fish cakes, approved by Hayley until everyone else tries them tonight ;-) I found this recipe in a new cookbook I got by another blogger whose site I enjoy visiting. 100 Days of real Food. Highly recommend this book, lots of yummy healthy, natural recipes. It was my Christmas gift to myself this year.

A little switch in topic as I'm still distracted by the crazy weather outside. Noticing the bird's nest outside my kitchen window that I enjoyed watching the baby cardinals hatch from this summer. Wonder if the nest will be reused this year?

Cooper has decided he is definitely a cold weather dog... loves to roll in it, eat it and stand there and let the wind blow his hair..... I'm calling him as he sits and stares at me like I have two heads!! Like "really mom?, I'm having a "blast"!!

Then he proceeds to turn his head and ignore me like I'm not even there, lol. Crazy dog as temperatures are in the negative digits.

Eventually he did decide to come in. ;-)

Living on this hill which gives us amazing views also brings the most intense winds and wacky weather I've ever seen. This is a shot I took of how bad the wind blows and recovers our driveway constantly. Is it summer yet? The locals tell us we haven't seen anything yet....that it's nothing here to get 15-19 inches in a day! *Sigh* Any suggestions for surviving the snow? It's pretty but beyond that, I'm not impressed.

A cool thing we found on the door was the frost imprint of our wreath on the door. Yes it's the only thing left up from Christmas as Jerry made it and I just can't get rid of it while it's still in great shape :-)

We received a few gift certificates to one of our favorite places to eat...Cracker Barrel and I found this cutest little Raccoon on clearance that lights up with LED lights...yeah couldn't resist, he's sitting right next to the girl's computer...just too adorable not to mention!

So for fun and good memories, I thought I'd include a couple flashback photos from when the girl's were younger and the weather was warmer! This was Hayley getting ready for a tea party. She always has loved hats and fashion and just lights up a room with her gorgeous smile and bubbly personality. :-)

My little Kathleen has always danced to her own tune and created her own fashion snow boots while watering my clematis in 90 degree temperatures, lol. But they learn so much by having that freedom to express themselves.

While searching my files for some good flashback photos I also stumbled across some home movies from our old neighbor...great memories, great times, so I laughed and teared up... and I am thankful I have the memories to look back upon. Our lives are rich with dear friends and although we may be far...they are always close in our hearts.

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose"  From the show The Wonder Years

"The leaves of memory seemed to make a mournful rustling in the dark" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory"  Dr. Seuss

           Thanks for stopping by today! Hope wherever you are visiting from it is nice and WARM!



Victorian1885 said...

Hello Jill
Your girls are growing up way too fast! Our Grand daughters are coming to visit us in Arizona this March so we are looking forward to seeing them They are 5 & 3 and growing like weeds.
Have a wonderful week.

Wendi said...

Welcome to the Midwest! :) I am going to try the fruit roll ups soon. I think Megan would love them. Eating better is on the agenda around here also.

Billie Jo said...

Enjoyed visiting with you!
And I too enjoy making our house a home. : )

Sonya Ann said...

Your family is so lucky to have you.
Its -2 here now with a windchill of -24. Northern IL is not a fun place to be. But they did cancel school. They normally don't cancel it because of snow just the cold here.
Stay warm, my friend.

Julie said...

Your pictures are awesome. Those girls keep growing and growing. I told Mike about the fruit roll ups, He loves them so I'll be making them soon.
Thank you for writing me the other day. I did get it, I just haven't had an extra moment to enjoy writing you back.
Take care Jill and keep these awesome post coming. Love them, truly.

Heather said...

Thankfully we have pretty mild weather here but we did live in Alaska and NewYork so I know the weather they still send kids to school in. When we get bad weather here it is nice homeschooling we just stay home the roads can get really slippery with oil because it does not rain often. ~Have fun with your new cookbook it looks like a good one ~Heather

~ Noelle said...

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and here is to a happy and blessed New year!

McVal said...

What great old memories and new memories! You're a good mom.

McVal said...

What great old memories and new memories! You're a good mom.

Camille said...

So lovely to catch up with you here my friend. What wintery weather you are having!! The frost imprint of your wreath was a fun surprise I am sure. Your girls are really growing up. Kathleen's lunch looked wonderful. What a fun Mom you are! Hugs to you! Camille

Tara said...

I love your blog! All of your ideas and inspiration! How adorable are those lunch containers. Perfect with their little sections. And your winter pictures are beautiful! Stay cozy and warm!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

What a lucky girl to get such wonderful lunches and notes from her mamma :) She'll treasure those memories forever. Wow, love all the beautiful snow at your home. The wreath imprint is amazing! Happy New Year!