Project 365: Day 58

So many books, so little time!




Project 365: Day 53

You are now entering the playroom



Project 365: Day 50

First snow

Pancake Sunday 2.19

Berries 'N' Cream

Once again, I'm using ingredients I have on hand to create a super yummy pancake. Today, berries 'n' cream. 
I started off with frozen mixed berries and a little bit of water and set it on the stove to simmer down. It broke down the berries into a yummy syrupy sauce. I didn't add any sugar to this, only berries and water.
While the berries were simmering I started on my batter. I used the fluffy buttermilk pancake recipe but did a few things differently. I added some of the liquid from the berries on the stove and I also separated the eggs and beat the whites, fold them in last to lighten up the batter.
The berry liquid gave the pancakes a nice purplish swirl. The pancakes were nice and light because of the egg whites, which was great. Especially since I was pairing these pancakes with heavy cream.
I beat heavy cream with a touch of powdered sugar to help cut down on the tartness of the berries, I also added the zest of one small lemon and a tiny bit of lemon extract. I meant to only thicken the cream but ended up over-beating it, I almost made butter! EEK! Luckily I caught it in time and all was well! These were super yummy!





Pancake Sunday 2.12

 Chocolate Raspberry
Heart Pancakes

With Valentine's Day on the way I wanted to create special pancakes for my girls. So I whipped together a chocolate batter. I couldn't find one that used ingredients I have so I made up my own using wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, eggs and buttermilk.
I warmed some raspberry preserves on the stove, originally I wanted to use frozen raspberries but decided to just use the preserves because they taste good and I knew they'd warm nicely to make a yummy topping for the pancakes.
 I added about 1/4 cup of preserves to the pancake batter to add just a hint of raspberry to the chocolate.
The pancakes were huge, I could only cook two at a time on the griddle. I needed to make them big enough to cut out hearts with the cookie cutter.
Once they were done and the hearts were cut out, I topped them with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and drizzled them with the warmed raspberry preserves. The pancakes were delicious! You can't go wrong with the combination of raspberry and chocolate, especially for Valentine's Day!

Project 365: Day 43

Drippy paint



Project 365: Day 40

Kid-initiated color matching


Project 365: Day 39

Beautiful morning full moon


Project 365: Day 37

Amazing Sunset

Schedule Spinner

One of my goals for 2012 was to have a daily schedule to keep us on track through the day. That way everyone knows what to expect at a certain time and there aren't any surprises and less meltdowns (in theory). I had written a schedule out on the white board but I kept forgetting to look at it, it was messy and the girls weren't involved with it. 
I knew that if I wanted to accomplish my goal I'd have to create something visual for the girls to be able to read so that they could help keep me on track. I decided to make a spinner. 

I made a list of general daily activities and wrote them down in 30 minute increments. The girls typically wake up at 8:00am and go to bed between 7:30-8:00 pm. When I had everything scheduled I cut out a cardboard circle and divided it into wedges.
I painted each wedge that relates to another the same color, all food wedges are pink, the purple are free time, etc. When the paint was dry, I wrote each activity and the time it's meant to occur.

I cut out an arrow spinner to point to what wedge we're on at the moment. It's attached by a button and some wire.
I hung it up right under our bulletin board, low enough that the girls can spin the arrow to the appropriate wedge. So far it's been going fabulously! Occasionally we've switched time wedges according to moods and time, etc. For example, we've switched "school" time with outdoor time a few times, we've extended art time before. All of the activities are general. "School" to us can mean a trip to the museum or library, free time is anything the girls decide they want to do. Playroom time is time spent in the playroom only. There are books, games, toys in there. The girls love to be in there playing with each other. We've really been enjoying outdoor time lately since it's been so nice out. The past few days have been chilly though, so we've just replaced some outdoor time with more playroom time or more art time.
The spinner has been a very welcome addition to our daily lives, less stress and the girls definitely know what to expect throughout the day and love being able to move the spinner arrow to each wedge.

January: 2012 Goals Review

This is a post I've been meaning to write for some time, well...since the end of January at least.
I think writing an end of the month review of how much I've accomplished on my goals will help me to reach them better by looking at what has been working and what hasn't been working and making the appropriate adjustments.

In order to write this review, I will be referring back to my goals list and going through each goal one by one.

Visit more state parks: We haven't done much of this yet because though the weather has been mild, it hasn't been consistent, and there is nothing worse than getting to a state park and having the weather turn on you! We'll start heading out more once the weather starts staying nice for longer periods of time (which should be soon!)

Get Charlotte involved in something social: We haven't done this yet either, we have been taking her and Alexis to a new storytime so hopefully that will hold her over until the new semesters for classes begin or we find a more suitable social group for her.

Explore more of Greensboro: We have done this to some extent. We've discovered a few libraries in that area we really love. When we first moved down here we were heading in the opposite direction (Burlington) to go to the library but didn't feel like it was a good fit. The Greensboro library has been perfect. The storytime we found is wonderfully interactive, filled with lots of kids (the librarian knows all their names!), lots of stories, movement, singing, and even at the end they do a craft that goes along with the theme of the stories that were read. The girls just sat there on the ground while everyone was singing and dancing at first but they are slowly becoming more and more comfortable.

Improve my photography: I haven't taken the time to focus on this yet, but I have been doing the 365 project daily (even though I find it hard to post daily). Hopefully, now that we've found a new library we're happy with, I'll be able to explore the world of Adult Nonfiction.

Expand Dilly-Dali Art: I have launched a few new series on the blog that people are really responding to which is great, my FB page "likes" have jumped quite a bit which is also great. Still, I'm looking for more of a local community reach, which I am hesitant to get started on building. Mostly because I don't plan on staying in this area long so all my efforts would be wasted if we moved halfway through the year (which I'm hoping to) I did find a few new tips on helping to start an art group that I will definitely keep in mind when we do get settled in a new area.

Set aside specific times for activities: I'm surprised at how quickly we were able to adjust to this new goal. At first I was having trouble with keeping track of the time, I finally sat down and wrote a schedule for pretty much every hour the girls are awake (8-8). I made a "clock" that the girls can see so they help keep me on track, there are different colors for each type of activity so that it's easier for them to read. Of course, I'm not crazy strict with it and don't force the girls stick to it 100%, a couple of times we replaced a few of the morning activities with outdoor time and just did the morning things in the evening. Easy peasy! I will post more about how I made the "clock" in another post.

Maintaining a proper diet: Like I said in the original goals post, this is mainly Travis's goal because he has issues with putting on weight easily if he strays from the path. He was able to meet with a fitness nutritionist in the beginning of the year that told him pretty much everything he already knew, but felt like he had to hear it from a professional. That being said, he's done pretty well on the diet thing, and he's been keeping up with his daily working out. I, on the other hand, haven't ran in what feels like forever. I'm starting to feel doughy, so I guess I better get my butt on the treadmill!

Eliminate internet distractions: So this one has been pretty much a fail for me. It's so hard to keep off the internet during the day when I'm trying to build a fairly successful fan base on the Dilly-Dali Art page. I mostly only get on for networking with other bloggers, I haven't been on my personal page much. When I am on my personal page most of the stuff is posted automatically from other sources. All of my photos are posted automatically and links are easily shared when posted on another FB page. This goal will take more work than I thought!

So there you have it! I think I'm doing fairly well goal wise, especially considering there are still 10 months and some odd days left!


Pancake Sunday 2.5

Nutella Pancakes
Caramelized Bananas

Lately I've been trying to find recipes for pancakes using items I already have in the pantry. Luckily, this week I had the perfect combination of Nutella and bananas, I just needed to find the perfect recipe. I was a little skeptical about being able to find a good Nutella pancake recipe, the last one I made left me disappointed. After searching the internet for awhile, I found this one and it sounded super promising! Not to mention simple to make since there are not very many ingredients.
1/2 cup of Nutella is all you need!
Whisk eggs and Nutella together
They blend together perfectly
After adding oil and milk
Add liquid to dry ingredients

Stacks of pancakes, my favorite Sunday view!
Browning butter and sugar
Add bananas
These pancakes were a WIN! The Nutella pancake by itself, without the bananas was nice. Not too sweet because there isn't any added sugar and nice and fluffy. There was a really nice Nutella flavor. Adding the bananas on top was amazing! I did change the recipe a bit. The recipe called for 1 cup of sugar and I only added 1/2 cup and the recipe called for 1/4 cup of syrup and I didn't add any syrup. A little water would have been nice to break up the caramelized sugar a bit and make it more saucy instead of a thick compote but it did the job anyway.  They were really delicious and the girls and I had seconds! I definitely recommend giving these pancakes a try!!