Thursday, July 25, 2013

Waffle Fail to Waffle Perfection (with some adjustment!)

I am totally not ashamed to admit and share my cooking/baking failures complete with photos!!  I think they are worth a giggle and if they help someone else, well then my kitchen flubs are useful! :)  So as my family ventures into a healthier lifestyle and I attempt to do more of the making and baking, I hope to share some more ROTFLMBO (rolling on the floor laughing my but off!) moments.

This morning's adventure begins a week ago, in which I wander into a hair brained idea!  I've been scouring the web for ideas for lunches that we can use, either to pack and store in the fridge or on the counter - so when the lunch crunch comes, I have something ready made that is healthy and I just need to put on the table, or on days that are crazed with adventure - we can pack up and picnic wherever!!

A couple days ago I saw a site where someone had some strawberry shortcake waffles made from a homemade waffle iron!  Lightbulbs flash in my brain... OMGosh! I have one of those!  I bought one nearly 9 years ago, and after a few visual successes and flavours to my liking, FrogGirl (my oldest then 3) announced she preferred the store bought ones ... she told me a couple days ago that the issue was not taste or flavour - but the mere fact that they were square and not what she was used to!!  

My hope was restored! The waffle iron was collecting dust in my house somewhere and I knew just where too!  So I dug it out.  I then found a recipe for Gluten Free (because I'm trying go 'less' gluten) and top 8 allergen free waffle batter.  Easy Breezy right!  HA!  This is me we are talking about!  Pictured left here is the very first waffle hot off the iron after 9+ years of no use! *GRIN*
My girls now 12, 7, and 3, looked on and laughed when I wanted to cry.  My 7 yr old clamoured... "But mum they smell awesome and I want to eat it anyway!"  So I rolled it off and handed it to her! Not before snapping a picture and facebooking it first... which was met with the very first response: "I would never, with a million guesses, guess that was a waffle."  This made me laugh

The 12 yr old came next and said "I want some!" - she then proceeded to try and make a sugar glaze dipping sauce for hers!

Attempt #2 was then demanded by the 3 yr old, who ate it with lots of mmmms and nnnmmms.  By now I'm questioning the recipe which told me not to spray, it simply would not stick!  (um I begged to differ!)  So I figured I'd use some margarine - which I had hoped to avoid!  I'm also starting to suspect that there is something missing from my iron - namely a little clip which didn't seem important - and had broken off sometime in the last 9 years!
Multiple questions are running through my head now.  Is the recipe a dud?  Is the clip really necessary.  I ate the other half of GiraffeGirl's waffle, and while tasty it seems a little on the soft/undercooked side.  Since there are no eggs in it, I'm not worried, but made a mental note to try it longer next time!  So this time I decide to hold the iron closed which I believe the clip would do.  I did not add more margarine, but did let it cook a little longer.

Attempt #3 was scoffed by the 12 and 7 yr old.   And it is starting to look like it should!  YAY Me!
So Attempt #4.  I broke out the Olive oil cooking spray and doused that baby with all it's chemical laden badness, all hopes of today's success blowing out the window in a fit of "THIS THING WILL NOT BEAT ME!"  (yes I flickered a Jekyll and Hyde image!)  I then took a towel and squeezed that sucker shut -growling the whole time! Until BirdGirl (7) yelled "It's oozing out the sides mum!" and her two sisters came to inspect a mid a flurry of "eeewwwws" and "gross-es!" Like a killed it!  The light flickered off, and on a couple times, and the girls asked if I was gonna take it out.  I said "Not yet!"  I think they were scared at that moment! LOL! (kidding)  I gave it long and then slowly popped that sucker open and YES!  After 4 attempts and in a fit of total Lunacy - I won!  Bird Girl and I split the last waffle - for now I can call it a waffle!

I learned a few things!

1. Despite what the recipe says - you will need a spray!  (so I will find a non chemical spray to use!)
2. The clippy-thing, just might actually be important!  (but not so much that I'll buy a new iron until I master this!)
3.  The auto-timer on the waffle iron isn't really a timer, it's just a heat indicator that tells when the element is on, so I'll need to figure out how long to cook those beasts for real! :)
4.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Taste doesn't give a fig if it looks good!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Nature Box

So the Nature Box finally arrived a few days after my last post, but all that is my life has been up-ended by this silly move.  Chaos, takes over at every opportunity!  We aren't actually moving til the middle of August but there is so very much to do... and my house looks like someone detonated a mess making machine in it... oh wait, that's what three kids can do!

So anyway back to the nature box.  Remember this is the family box, which means two of each package.



So this is what the box looked like on first open. Though the info card was buried a little deeper in the box.  Once I took the extras out, there were 5 packages with about 4 small portion servings in them, basically enough for a taste and you'd need to beef it up with something else maybe a piece of fruit or some veggies or, well you get the idea.


So inside the box was the

  1. Tuscan Summer Mix.  I can't say this one is a favourite.  I tend to like my nuts and sees with a tiny bit of salt and not much more, but theses have a hint of herbs and Romano cheese, which means the littlest didn't even get a taste of them.  The two older girls weren't too keen on them either, I guess the flavour was all wrong for all of us! :)
  2. Cherry Crumble Granola.  A favourite.  I put some on my regular cereal a few times before sharing with the girls.  I don't recall seeing what happened to the 2nd package or the rest of the first for that matter.  This was gone in pretty short order!  So ya, that was a hit!
  3. Mango Almond Bites.  Another favourite.  These were like little Rice Crispy Square (and i mean little) with bits of almond and Mango in them.  Same thing happened with these as the Cherry Crumble, though I gave the girls first dibs on them.  They had a couple as a small snack and came back for more.  The package of these quickly disappeared too!
  4. Tart & Tangy Fruit Medley.  An interesting mix of dried cranberries and apples.  Only one of my kids like dried fruit a whole lot, so she dug into these and would have eating the whole bag but for the new braces she got!  She liked them, I thought they were okay, but the two littles weren't thrilled.
  5. South Pacific Plantains.  Okay these were very different.  All of us have been having cravings for potato chips lately, and these were a neat variation.  They were all wrong on first bite, but then I realized just how much I liked them... and had to steal t hem from my husband before he ate the rest.  as it turned out he had half and I had half a package and we split the last package with the girls who weren't terribly thrilled with them, but then they don't like Baked Chips either.
All in all!  I think it was a pretty good introductory to what Naturebox is about.  We only really didn't like one item, but that is more a personal flavours thing than a problem with the package.  I'm not sure it is worth the money I've paid for it, but I will continue getting more.  I'm more interested in the variety and ideas in the package at the moment because our snacking and lunching repertoire is kind of limited and needs a face lift!

So there you have it...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Health and Moving

Friday my Small Fruit Box arrived from a local delivery service.  I missed the delivery guy and they only packed the box with one extremely tiny already melted ice pack - which I return to them when my next delivery comes.  I think next time I'll leave out a cooler and put my own ice packs inside.

I was pleased with the variety of organic fruits in the box.  3 of everything except the less used citrus fruit, plums and avocado.  The strawberries were not in the best shape, I think I only managed to salvage half the box so I won't be adding them next time, they also tasted shelved (they were actually horrible), I think I'll keep my visit to the grocery store for berries and quick spoil fruits.  Here it is only Tuesday and the girls and I have already devoured most of this selection.    While this size box was designed to feed about 3 people (and we are 5) I don't think ordering a bigger box would be smart - because these are truly fresh (near peak) and therefore won't last long, definitely not 2 weeks but I can shop in between or add another box  The fruit is tasty and clean but, I'm not sure that it was worth the amount I paid for it.  I'll have to make a run to the grocery store this week and buy the same amount and kinds of fruit (organic) and find the price differential and determine if delivery is worth it (factoring fuel as well!)  I must say this was worth the experiment and definitely has given me some ideas to add to our repertoire anyway!

In the mean time, we are furiously packing to move.  In about 5-6 weeks we'll be changing homes.  I've been packing since mid-May, and this room is finally nearly done.  Some of these shelves were double lined with paperback and hardback books and this is all that remains.  There are 2 additional similarly sized bookshelves on the other side of the room.

I'm expecting my nature box in the next day or so.  They emailed me to tell me it was on its way!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Continuing on a Health Quest

So last week I posted about the new changes I'm making and this week is focusing on the little changes that make a difference.  I've finally made a long awaited appointment with Dr. to find out where I'm at health-wise - I mean despite being overweight with high blood pressure, so a physical will happen shortly, including blood test and the like.  This time it's all about me!

So no word yet on the Naturebox and when it will arrive.  But it is only 1.5 weeks now since I put in my order.  A little sad at the time it takes to get it moving but they did say 2-3 weeks, so hopefully I'll hear something soon!

The Co-Op is set to deliver a box of Fresh fruits this Friday - we added some Strawberries to the box since one of my girls is a Strawberry fiend and the contents of the box for the week is looking interesting!  I can't believe I'm actually excited to try this... but since I'm not thrilled with the supply of fruits at the local grocery store, I guess that might explain it.  

In preparation for the fruit box that is coming we went through the list of veggies that they ship too and they had things on there that I have never seen before.  I'm not sure what a small box will really yield for us so, we'll see what we get and go from there.

In the mean time, my middlest is helping me make better choices.  I think she is tired of the lunches we've been having, so she is making suggestions of her own and her's are definitely more nutritious (with some additions) than mine have been so, I consider her as my little helper! :)

Keeping on changing!  Keep ya posted.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Experimenting with Health

So many false starts lately! :(

Of late, I've tried to get this blog going again with very little success.  I've tried a weightloss challenge, I've tried a house habit challenge and it's just not keeping me going here.  I think I need to redefine my purpose!

Wish me luck here I'm gonna need it!

So many changes are afoot in our house at the moment that it seems like a good time to make a fresh start!  Moving day is looming, once the repairs to the new house are done and the old house is packed up, we'll have a new view of the world!  And with that I've been thinking about my health lately and the crappy foods I've been eating, despite knowing they are bad for me, I do it anyway.  My girls are learning bad things from me this way, so I'm hoping to make some positive changes.  I'm supposed to be their roll model.

I suck at doing lunches and snacks at home.  They usually consist of processed foods and things that aren't so good for us... so Change #1.  I've been considering NatureBox for about a month now and finally took the plunge.   What is it you ask?  Well, before I give you the link, let me explain.  It is a box of healthy snacks that are free of High Fructose Corn Syrup, Trans Fats, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, colours and flavours.  It appears to be mostly dried fruits and nuts and the like... but we will see.  My first box should arrive in 2-3 weeks.  And I hope to review it at that time.  Mine will be an unbiased review (save mine and my family's taste preferences) based on value for price.  We've ordered the Family box, which is 10 FULL-sized packages of snacks each month (5 different snacks, 2 packages of each.)  You can find more details at  Naturebox.com

Change #2.  follows the same idea, in that I've been looking to go more organic in our food choices, after having looked at the "Dirty Dozen" lists posted on the web.  It would allow me to eat more healthy fruits and veggies and not worry about the ones that are highest in pesticides.  So I've found an online co-op that will deliver to my door.  Sometime in the next week or so I should get my first box of fruit.  I'm starting small first, because I'm learning that doing things in the big way I normally do, usually spells disaster! (look ma, I'm growing up!)  So I started out with a box of fruit and if it works for us, we'll consider moving on to a mixed box or add a box of veggies later.  This can only be good for all of us right?

For the record, I'm currently overweight with blood pressure issues and likely cholesterol issues.  So in addition to the above, I've decided that I need to visit my doc before I put these changes into effect, because I know he'll want me back in a couple months and I'll want to seem some dramatic changes! :)

So there ya have it... I'm trying to get back in the saddle and reign in some health for myself... and get this blog going in a health direction.  I'm also looking to get back into digital scrapbooking and simply sharing some fun!

Wish me luck, and I'll try to keep you posted.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Reality Check

So I came to the realization in the last 24 hours that I could be moving in six days, six months or sometime in the next six years and the concept frightened me beyond words.  How much stuff can a family that grew collect in the short space of 10 yrs... and how much of it do I want to move??

Understand my house is not like those houses on TV - it's not Hoarders here, though sometimes I cast an eye around and feel like it could be.  I lack storage more than anything.  And I lack the discipline to put things back!

You see, I have lived in this house for the last 10 1/2 years. My oldest was four months old when we moved in. Three additional children later, all-girls I might add, and you have a recipe for disaster. Now throw in the fact that I'm a reforming packrat (that is a packrat that is trying to mend her ways!), and you begin to realize the magnitude of my problem.  I am a knitter, crochet'er and sewer, which compounds the clutter.  Yes, I have thrown stuff away in the last 10 years, and donated yarn, usually when my clutter got under my skin, but I homeschool too, and as homeschoolers tend to do, we have amassed a collection books - both school and general fiction, so the problems continue to grow!  As a packrat thinks, I often say - oh well I can use that again for the next child ... not fully comprehending that it is only useful if I can find it again when said child is old enough - so it needs a place to live in the mean time.

For years, I have been trying to follow Fly-lady, and when I didn't see results with that, because I lacked the follow through and ability to follow routines, I would wander off to organizedhome.com or Cindy's Porch - which is now Cannywomen.com, so I have been doing stuff, just never with my full heart and intentions of getting somewhere, UNTIL NOW!

My clutter is getting to me!  It's making me REALLY grumpy.  I spent the last couple weeks stepping over stuff to get through the door into my laundry room, trying not to kill myself with the full clean laundry baskets on the way out again!

It's official though - I have decided that I need to finally bite the bullet and get myself out of this mess.  There is nothing I love more than a clean surface and a clean area to sit down comfortably and just enjoy my surroundings.

I haven't posted on this blog regularly in recent months, I'm hoping to be better about that, I will be focusing on my efforts of decluttering, cleaning and simplifying our mess.  And the occasional knit/crochet/sew project or two!  Emotions are sure to flare as I pack away my stuff and get rid of things that I just don't need anymore.

So let's begin!!  

This passed Friday, I received some Method soaps and detergents from Soap.com - we've been using them for ages, anyway, after school lessons today - I re-purposed the box - I used it to pick up all the mess of STUFF on the floor in the laundry room.  I gave the floor a good vacuum and scrub.  Got rid of the shoes the girls have outgrown or don't wear!  Got rid of the empty bottles of detergents from the cupboards that I was going to refill with homemade detergents.  In the end I got rid of a bag full of trash - no, none of it was reusable!  Though what could be recycled was and a couple of shoes went  into the Goodwill Bag.

I spent 2 hours in the laundry room, digging out stuff that needed gotten rid of and freed up some storage space for curriculum materials that I'm not currently using but know I will use for sure for the youngest!  I also managed to clean up some other stuff that was lying around and tossed on a couple loads of laundry.  

I'm throwing in the stuff I do on a regular basis as well, just because I'm working on routines!  Laundry happens M, T, Th, F (and sometimes Sat,)  my oldest does her own laundry now (W) because she refuses to put it away if I do it, so I made her responsible for her own, mess!  

Tomorrow's goal is to empty my new "SOAP box" and deal with that clutter so that I can use it again for the next round of stuff that needs done.  I'm hoping to declutter my home, one soap box at a time - 15-30 minutes a day (a la Fly-lady!!)   :)  I figure I can declutter for 15-30 minutes and then re-load my box for the next day's 15-30 minutes worth of stuff to declutter.

New Habit:  So as of now, the tops of the dryer and washer need to be tidied each night after the last load is done! :)  This needs to be how it looks each night!  (21 days to a new habit!)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Potty Learning Project

Today, I and my 3 yr old, are embarking on my 3rd and hopefully final, her first and hopefully only journey into potty learning.

She is my most stubborn child. But I have faith that she'll get there in her time, I'm hoping by the end of the day she will agree that NOW is the time. LOL!

It's odd that each time I have done this with my children it seems like a complete mystery to me and something that requires study and relearning on my part. I teach my children at home, but for some reason this potty learning poses a huge challenge for me to teach.

Without further ado, we begin! Wish me luck!!