Tuesday, May 31, 2011

home dairy by ashley english

HL Home Dairy cover

Last week I received two fabulous books in the mail.  One of them was Home Dairy by Ashley English.  This book is an amazing resource to have for anyone who is starting out or even those who are currently making their own dairy products.  It is full of recipes for butter, yogurt, soft cheeses, hard cheeses, sour cream, and more!  

I loved reading about the author's journey to making her own dairy products as I feel it's much like my own...starting out small and working up to more as you see the encouragement and satisfaction that comes from making homemade foods.  I also loved the visual appeal of the book.  Not only is it a great resource of amazing recipes, but it's fun to look at.

homemade butter

I think, perhaps, the best way to review a book is to give it a test drive.  That's precisely what I did with the butter recipe.  I've never made butter before but have wanted to try it for a while.  It was very easy and making a dinner with homemade bread, homemade butter, and homemade jam is just plain awesome.  This book also contains my all-time favorite yogurt recipe which I eat almost daily.  And I'm now anxious to try out making my own cheese.  I jokingly said to my husband that eventually we might be milking our own cows as we go down this path to homemade dairy. :)

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has a desire to step out into making their own dairy products.  The easy step by step instructions will leave you feeling encouraged and confident that you are providing food that is healthy for your family.

A special thanks to Beth at Lark Crafts for providing me with this free copy of Home Dairy to review.  Do check out their website.  It's a beautiful blend of creativity with giveaways, crafts, recipes, and more!  Next week look for my review of the second fabulous book I received from Lark Crafts!

buy home dairy on amazon
lark crafts on twitter
lark crafts on facebook
lark crafts on the web

Sunday, May 29, 2011

quinoa salad

quinoa salad

Some time ago, I saw a recipe for breakfast quinoa in a magazine.  I attempted it and it was an utter fail.  Either I didn't read all the directions properly or I thought the step of soaking and rinsing the quinoa was optional.  Whatever the case, I didn't do it, resulting in a very bitter porridge.  Recently, I decided to give the quinoa another go.  I soaked it and rinsed it (just like the directions said) and there was absolutely no bitterness.  Lesson learned!  I made a quinoa salad that is perfect for the summer.  It was tasty, filling, and full of fresh veggies.  I'm looking forward to incorporating this seed that is part of the spinach family into more dishes.  Click here to see the many health benefits of quinoa!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

hot date at the symphony

My hot date @jeremyclayprice @DallasSymphony

Last night the hubby and I had a hot date at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra!  I got a call yesterday afternoon that someone wanted to gift us with two tickets to the symphony.  It was a scramble to find a babysitter, but we were both so glad we did!  It was our first time to go to the symphony, and it was just beautiful.  The orchestra played music from Rodgers and Berlin and the great Marvin Hamlisch conducted the pieces.  He's won numerous awards, and I loved how he seemed to have fun with it and make the crowd laugh.  The vocalists were also quite amazing.  If you've never been to the symphony before, I would highly recommend it!

PS: Cameras are not allowed but I snapped this with my iPhone before it started.

Friday, May 27, 2011

a reversible african toy

Last Friday I showed you some of the baby goodies I had knit up for a baby gift.  I was able to add one more item to the basket with this lion / elephant reversible toy from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Toys (absolutely love that book by the way).  I thought it would be fun to do something Africa-esque, so Joshua's teacher can remember the kid who came from Africa (this gift is for his teacher, his wife is expecting their first child).

lion front

I honestly have not been disappointed with a single thing I've made from this book.  They all turn out so cute.  These reversible toys are just genius, in my opinion.

lion back

I was able to knit this whole thing using yarn I already had in my stash (hence the reason why the lion has brown feet and a brown tail with a tan tip).  I said last Friday that I was going to give the blues a rest but this elephant just needed to be blue (because he's a boy, you know).

elephant front

I do believe this baby gift is now complete.  There's always something else that could be made, because baby knits are just the cutest, but for the sake of getting other things done around here, I feel I must stop the madness.

elephant back

What's your favorite baby gift to give?  Besides hand knits, I love giving wooden toys!  Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday (you really must visit her blog if you haven't already).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

dare to dream

dare to dream

Yesterday I found out the results from the Dollar Fifty A Day photo contest.  I was really hoping, with all of my dreaming coming true lately, that my photo would be picked.  Well...it wasn't (you can see the winners here), BUT I want to thank you all for liking my photo and for supporting me!  (Side note: I was hoping to win the part of the contest that Jeremy Cowart judged, the Facebook "likes" were for another part of the contest.)  I am so glad I stepped out and entered it.  I will continue to dare to dream!  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

living in the right now

Every once in a while I love taking these moments to pause, savor, and remember what's bringing me joy in the right now.  At the lightning speed that life goes by, I feel it a must to document life's little moments that I'm taking the time to notice.  So, welcome to my right now...

joshua taking the time to teach his little sister about his favorite subject in school

learning new things...like using texture in photoshop
red flower texture

a clean house which doesn't last long in these parts {smile}

new seasons that bring a new crop of fruits
fresh cherries

my little munchkins who will be finished with school in just 6 days!
sweet smile

Here's hoping you can also pause, savor, and remember the little moments today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the secret of the indigo moon by g.p. taylor

When book number two of the Dopple Ganger Chronicles, The Secret of The Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor became available, I asked my 9 year old if he would be interested in reading it.  He begrudgingly said yes.  However, after it arrived, he was like a kid in a candy store.  He absolutely loved this book!  Perhaps it was his interest in a career of detective work that drew him in.

Brief Synopsis

Erik Morissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn’t go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school. They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble. It wasn’t part of the plan to come face to face with an old enemy, one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all. And unraveling the “secret of indigo moon” was the farthest thing from their minds.  At Isambard Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children, these things just seem to happen.

In The Secret of Indigo Moon, confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie, and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery, one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and whom it’s safe to trust.

I interviewed my son to see what he thought of the book...

What did the book teach you?
To always listen to your mind, to yourself, and to Jesus and to obey Him.

Did it teach you anything about Jesus?
Always pray to God.

What was your favorite part?
When they spun around the garazello, because it had the most action.  The garazello was invented by the the bad guy.

Did you like the illustrations in the book?
Yes, very much, because it gives you an idea of what the characters look like, do, and say.

Would you recommend this book?  If so, why?
Yes, because, I liked the book.  Kids who like to read good books would like to read it.

From a mom's perspective, I was a bit skeptical when the book arrived.  It looked a bit dark and as my boy has been interested in books with less pictures, I feared that he would be turned off by all the illustrations.  He definitely wasn't.  In fact, it made him want to read.  A book that's fun to read and teaches my kid about God definitely gets an A+ from me!  He's now well into book #1 of the series, The First Escape, with book #3, The Great Mogul Diamond, on its way!

Disclosure : I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine and my son's.

Monday, May 23, 2011

giveaway day at sew mama sew

Today starts Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew!  I love Giveaway Day.  Hundreds of crafters offering handmade giveaways or supplies to make handmade items.  What's not to love about that??  So, if you're clicking over from Sew Mama Sew, welcome!  If you're a regular reader here, you might want to check out this post with all the fabulous bloggers that are offering lovely items!

With all the blog hopping going around today, I will make this short and sweet.  I am offering a set of five love postcards as well as a set of five flower note cards in a hand sewn case (pens not included).  Photos are all my original photos.

postcards of love


springtime flowers note cards


This giveaway is open internationally.  Giveaway will end Wednesday, May 25th at 9PM Central Time where random number generator will choose one winner. 


1st Entry  Simply leave a comment!

2nd Entry  Become a follower or it you already are that's fine, too!

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry, and be sure I have a way to contact you should you win!

If you're new in these parts it's been a month of giveaways celebrating my blog's feature in Artful Blogging

Comments are now closed.  The winner is #76 Wehaf!  Congrats!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

honey whole wheat pizza crust

white pizza

I don't mean to be a traitor, but I think I've found my favorite pizza crust recipe and it's not in Artisan Breads Every Day.  I know...GASP!  If you're new in these parts, Artisan Breads Every Day is like my absolute favorite bread cookbook in the whole world.  However, I found a pizza crust recipe the other day that was incredibly easy (it even works at the last minute), had only whole wheat flour, and honey instead of sugar.  Delicious and easy puts it at the top of my list.  I made a half cheese, half pepperoni for the fam, but my favorite was the cheese, spinach, garlic, and rosemary (white) pizza.  Delish!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

rainy day at starbucks

Yesterday, in the pouring rain, Miss Emma G and myself stopped into Starbuck's for a mini cupcake and a mini whoopie pie...both are perfect ingredients for a rainy day. :)

Rainy day at Starbucks

Friday, May 20, 2011

baby knitting blues

I can't believe the long stints that seem to be happening between knitting projects.  All I know is that life has been a little busier lately leaving me little time during the day to knit and a too tired mama at night to knit.  Just like my kids, I am counting down the days (9!) to summer break, hoping the pace will also slow down a bit.  Until then, I've given myself a baby knitting project for Joshua to give to his teacher.  His teacher's wife is expecting a baby this summer and, because I like gifting and I like knitting, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to make something!

blue diaper cover

baby booties

In case you couldn't tell, it's a boy.  At least I hope, because I made everything in blue!  I already had a diaper cover made, so that was one tick off the list.  Next, I moved on to baby booties.  I used the free Organic Cotton Booties pattern from Bernat.  I couldn't believe how fast these knit up.  I think they will be perfect to warm little toes in the winter months.  After the booties I opted for a pattern I've used before, the Hurricane Hat, but in a smaller size, of course.  It's simple with a little visual interest.  Pics of baby hats are much cuter when they're actually on a baby but at least you get the idea.

hurricane hat

There's a couple of other things I would like to make (non-blue hopefully).  We'll see if time permits before school lets out...in 9 days!

What have you been up to this week?

I'm linking up with Jennifer@Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday!  Don't forget to enter my giveaway for fair trade coffee.  And today is the last day to "LIKE" my photo for the Dollar Fifty A Day photo challenge.  Please "LIKE!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

fun at the aquarium

Last week I played the part of parent chaperone for Jman's field trip to the aquarium.  I had five 3rd graders entrusted to my care.  Although I felt exhausted after an hour and a half of chasing excited kids, it was awesome to see the aquarium through their eyes.  It was definitely a great place to go to see the things they had been learning in class.  Me at the end of it all = naptime calling.  Hearing their excited voices say, "Look!  An adaptation!" = Priceless.  Here's some photos from our day.  The shark tank was the mutual consensus for the favorite!

lizard w/orange head

by the spider

swimming turtle


in awe

shark tank

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

giveaway :: seriously good coffee from 35 north

I first met Matt Hensley when he came to S. Africa on a short-term trip with a team of people in 2008.  Since then, Matt has returned to S. Africa twice, letting his heart be moved to compassion for the orphan.  That compassion turned to action when he started 35 North Coffee Co.  I asked Matt to tell us what inspired him to start 35 North Coffee Co... 

matt in africa

"When I lived in South Africa, a hobby of mine was trying to find the best cup of coffee in Cape Town.  I always found that the best coffee places were the ones that roasted coffee themselves.  At the same time, I was working in a justice ministry called A Voice for the Voiceless, and we had done a lot of research on fair trade products, such as coffee.  After the research I had done on fair trade, and the conditions a lot of people who make our products go through, I didn’t think I could ever drink anything but fair trade at this point.

When I came back home I wanted to try to roast some coffee myself just to see how it went.  My brother-in-law, Sam, had been thinking the same thing, so with his help in administrative skills we decided to take it one step further and actually start a company!

Our goal is a simple one, buy fair, sell fair, give back.  We want to be able to support missionaries, and organizations through our coffee company, and help promote the things people do to care for the poor and in doing so furthering the kingdom of God!"

Isn't that beautiful?  I simply love it when God gives creative ideas for sowing into what He's doing around the world!  For every bag of coffee that is purchased, 35 North Coffee Co gives back to missionaries and ministries, including Ten Thousand Homes, which is very near and dear to my heart. (If you're new here, Ten Thousand Homes is the ministry my husband and I co-founded.)

bag of coffee from 35 north

Matt has generously offered two bags of coffee to give away to two lucky winners!  I've had it, and it's seriously good!  This is a great way to try it out and spread the word to your friends on how their cup of joe can bring hope to Africa's orphans!


Giveaway is open to U.S. only.  International friends, if you have a U.S. address, then of course, that's fine!  It ends Wednesday, May 25th at 9PM Central time where the random number generator will choose two winners!


1st Entry  Simply leave a comment!

2nd Entry  Become a follower.  If you already are, that's fine, too!

3rd Entry  Tweet and/or share on Facebook the following...

enter to win a bag of fair trade coffee from @35NorthCoffeeCo via @jenprice77!  http://bit.ly/jvAgWE

4th Entry  Follow @jenprice77 on Twitter.

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry!
  Click here to purchase coffee to benefit Ten Thousand Homes. 


Comments are now closed.  The two winners are #11 Stacy and #6 Suz and Allan.  Congrats!

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