Saturday, February 18, 2012

Flaming Marshmallows, Smiles and Giggles

That's How We Roll in The Country

Today was a wonderfully lazy day for me.  I spent the day enjoying spending time with my wonderful Husband and children.  Matt cooked a great supper of Ribs, Corn on the Cob, Squash, and Hush puppies. Afterwards, Max built us a great bonfire and we spent the evening roasting marshmallows, making s'mores, and watching the kids have a great time.  Since my camera doesn't have a flash on it, I borrowed Suzannah's camera to take pictures.  I hope your day was as great as ours!

Mika is looking so grown up (and s'mores all over his face :D)
Suzannah, Gracie, and Aamna.  They were so excited it was hard to get them all in a good pose

Max, very proud of the first bonfire he built all by himself (with lots of supervision of course)

Flaming "s'mellows)

                                               More Flaming s'mellows

Friday, February 17, 2012

TastyThursday-Homemade Bread~

A Matter Close to My Heart and a Recipe

Disclaimers to read  before you read my post. 

1.  I am not a doctor, I don't play one on the internet or in my imaginary life that is all pink and pretty.  I do however, play an awesome princess.

2.  I am not encouraging you to not follow your doctor's orders.  They know way me and you should do what you think is right in your situation

3.  Not all diabetes can be controlled by diet alone, so by all means take your meds if you doctor told you to.

I often share things with you my darling readers, but I guess a "flaw" of mine is that if it is painfully personal I keep it to myself.  I was raised in the South with the "we don't air our dirty laundry" mentality.  It's a good one.  It prevents hurtful gossip, "knowing" stares, etc, but it can be a bad thing because there are times my experiences could help another person.

I am going to tell you some (not all) about my wonderful oldest son today.  Last year when I took him in for his 12 year old physical, he tested with high blood sugar (really high for his age) twice as well as high blood pressure.  Honestly, I was scared as a mother.  We had already cut junky snacks and sodas from our diet, but I was letting the kids have candy, goodies and anything else for special treats several times a week.

They wanted him to come back in a month and be retested and told me not to put him on a diet because they wanted a true reading if he had diabetes.  Well, I have always been strong-willed, stubborn, and pretty much done what I want to do instead of what I was told to do.

So, I called my mother-in-law who has diabetes and she talked me through the whole diet Max needed to go on to correct his sugar by the next visit-if it could be controlled by diet.  That was the beginning of true change in our  home.  By the next visit, Max's sugar was just borderline diabetes, way lower than it had been when he was tested the prior two months, and I was ecstatic.  I had successfully kept my child off of medication and made all of our lives better.

Fast forward 6 months later, his sugar is good, and thanks to him getting medication for a different physical issue (NOT blood pressure medication) his blood pressure is excellent now.  The best part is we all feel so much better now, and I won't ever go back to the way we ate before.  Today I am going to share with you a recipe for bread that I devised myself by modifying an old fashioned whole wheat bread recipe.  Note, the recipe called for more white flour than whole wheat, and I simply used all whole wheat which makes a really dense, less fluffy loaf of bread, but really healthy.

Ally's Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bran Bread with Flax Seeds

1 cup of whole milk (I bake with whole milk, but we drink skim)
1/2 Steel Cut Oatmeal-NOT quick oatmeal
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil (calls for melted butter, but olive oil is healthier)
2 cups of Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup of bran
1/4 cup of flax seeds
1 TBS Instant Yeast (not packets)
1 1/2 tsp salt
cooking spray
egg for egg wash

1.  Heat the milk on low until almost boiling and turn the heat off.  Add in oatmeal and let sit until it cools to hot tap water temperature (110-115 degrees if you want to use a thermometer)  Any hotter will kill the yeast and any colder isn't hot enough for it to activate.

2.  Combine flour, bran, flax, salt and yeast in a bowl.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the oatmeal mixture, hot water, and honey.

3.  Mix well and turn onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8-12 minutes until the texture is smooth and springs back when you press it with a finger.  If you have a Kitchen Aid, you can follow the manufacturer's directions and let the dough hook knead it for you.  NOTE:  Whole grain bread like this is dense and takes longer to knead than white bread.

4.  Put dough in large cooking bowl that has been sprayed with baking spray and spray the top of the bread with the spray putting plastic wrap directly on top of the dough covering it well to prevent drying.

5.  Sit in a warm spot to rise for 1 1/2 to 3 hours or until double.  You can put a pan of boiling water on the low rack of the oven and put the dough bowl on a rack above it to let rise

6.  When it has doubled in size, punch down the dough, roll into a small rectangle, and roll up jelly roll style placing the bread seam side down in a well-sprayed bread pan.  Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until double again (about 3 hours give or take)

7.  When dough has risen, take a knife and score several diagonal marks in the top of the bread,  lightly coat the top with a beaten egg, and sprinkle oatmeal on the top of the bread

8.  Bake on 375 for 30-45 minutes until golden brown

You can see from the picture that it isn't fluffy like white bread and is a lot denser.

Makes a smaller sandwich, excellent toast, or great just as it is (especially hot)!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bleeding Blue-Wordless Wednesday

Max, Grace and Mika in True Blue Spirit....Carolina Blue that is!

Suzannah proudly displaying her colors and her Soaring Eagles Uniform

Suzannah in the blue shorts doing her basketball tricks!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Magic Cabin Review

Magic Cabin 

A while back I won a gift certificate to a store named Magic Cabin which sells green and eco friendly toys for kids.  As a mother of four, of course  was thrilled.  There are always many very willing hands waiting for a new toy to play with here, that's for sure!  The best part of this company is that they believe in creative, imaginative play where children use their minds and great toys to fuel this imagination.

I spent a lot of time searching the booklet they sent and finally settled on the Melody Xylophone.  First of all, the CS Rep I spoke with was so very friendly.  She graciously answered my questions, and took her time assisting me.  The turnover time was great.  I got my purchase in under a week.

The toy itself is awesome.  It is wooden, very sturdy, has a spot on the bottom of the Xylophone to put the stick, and came with three cards of music.  My "demolition" Mika (he's 2) has played with it for a month now and the Xylophone seems like he can't tear it up.  The cards did come into a little bit of trouble when he ripped one while playing with it, but a little tape and it was as good as new.

I guiltily admit that my children have always enjoyed the toys you see on the commercials on tv, and I honestly wouldn't have thought that simpler wooden toys would amuse them so much, but they do.  When given a choice of his robot, abc apple, or his Xylophone, he will choose the Xylophone every single time.  I do think the prices are a bit high, but considering how sturdy and long-lasting the toys are, and how quickly most toys I buy them break, I think it evens out.

Now, Magic Cabin toys are easy to find online. at Facebook, and on Twitter.  Check them out and decide for yourself.  I firmly believe you will be impressed with what you see

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Little behind the times, but.......

I finally have Networked Blogs and a Facebook Fan page.  I am asking if all of you will please follow my Networked Blogs widget in the Right Side Column and if you will also Like my facebook page.  I greatly appreciate if you will do this for me, so I can be as cool as you are :)