30 January 2012

natural marshmallow recipe.

We've hardly seen any snow around our area, which is pretty odd for Ohio this time of the year. But we don't need snow or winter days to make hot chocolate in our house. Since we avoid high fructose corn syrup marshmallows never make their way home. So, this year I decided to dig up a recipe and make our own. This recipe is simple, tasty and allows for variations. Personally, I like to add some toasted coconut but that didn't go over too well with the kiddos. You may want to cut it in half because this makes a lot of marshmallows. We tend to give ours away and share with friends.



3 T. of unflavored Gelatin (or sub Agar Agar Powder). You can find non animal derived jel at Natural Markets. These may be runnier when set, so use more or add additional thickner, such as tapioca starch/flour.

1 c. chilled filtered water

1.5 c. organic cane sugar

1 c. agave nectar

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. real vanilla extract

1/4 c. powder sugar (or process cane sugar until fine and powdery, add a bit of starch to achieve same consistency)

1/4 c. corn starch/tapioca flour/potato starch/arrowroot powder (I use arrowroot powder)

Chill your metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment(s).

Place chilled bowl on base of stand mixer and attach whisk.

Start by putting gelatin (or replacement) into bowl.

Add 1/2 c. chilled water

In medium saucepan combine remaining water, cane sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until mixture reaches about 235-240 degrees F (soft ball stage). Once temperature is reached remove from heat.
Now, turn your stand mixer on low. Slowly add hot mixture to gelatin. When all syrup is added, put mixer on high. Continue to whip until mixture becomes thick and temp cools. Add the vanilla and whip for about a minute longer.
This mixture will whip for 10-15 minutes. So, prepare your pans while it is mixing.

Spray a 13 x 9 inch rectangular pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine powder sugar and corn (tapioca or potatoe if corn is out) starch in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture in pan, cover pan and shake to fully coat.

Now you can add the mixture to the pan. It is difficult to spread. Use a rubber spatula coated with non stick spray. Once spread out in the pan, sprinkle the top with more of the sugar/cornstarch mixture, cover w/ foil and allow to set up over night. Cut into 1 inch pieces and store in zip top bag at room temp.

**I didn't use all of my sugar/arrowroot mixture and definitely let it set overnight**
mine are a bit wiggly but taste fantastic in hot chocolate and melt into gooey goodness!
recipe adapted from here.




28 January 2012

a picture here. a picture there.





Picnik collageweekend3










Picnik collageweekend2



Our Weekend

breakfast. with a spoon. without a spoon.
books before school
fresh snow. happy smiles
art time. dance time.
a baby with a bucket
good food for lunch
hide and seek at the restaurant
building. bedtime. mom time.

27 January 2012

happy weekend.


Happy Weekend Friends!

Thought I would share some lovely links with you. I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend with the family. Tonight I'm having Jon's mom over for dinner then it's some serious fort making in the living room for our movie night. And of course, popcorn and hot chocolates. I'm not sure what Saturday will bring besides laundry but Sunday we have an open house and dinner with friends.

My friend Kacie wrote a great article on Positive Parenting and featured some lovely parents. Thank you Kacie for including me...what an honor!

is a collaborative project between Krystin Griffith, Oana Befort, Rebecca Caridad, and Inge van Geem. The images are absolutely stunning and catch my breath for a moment. Make sure to stop by and visit.

The thought of moving in the near future makes me so excited to remodel, paint and decorate. I love these living room inspirations. one. two. three.

This gallery is one of my favorites and it's right here in my home town!

Speaking of local, here are some more favorite local links:
I'm very active in this organization. I can't even begin to describe the passion I feel for this organization. Seeing how many families and individuals we have helps speaks louder than any words I can offer.

I'm also involved with Indigo Ink, a small non profit literary publisher. We have proudly published two books and continue on our adventure to seek out new talent. If you have an interest in art or poetry you would enjoy flipping through our books.

And last but not least, some blogs that I am enjoying. Amanda, Sarah, Danielle , and Katie

I snapped this photo the other day when I woke up to let the dog out. The sun was just rising over the dark sky on a winter's morning. It was a wonderful start to my day.

25 January 2012

she danced. in the sunlight.



Picnik collageJESS




we sat by the window in afternoon light. the record player softly playing in background. a distant beat under our talk. as moments passed talk became silent and music filled our room. slivers of sunlight danced across the glass. she moved her feet, slow at first, stepping on hints of light. spreading across rustic wooden floors like drops of water on hot pavement. she moved under the notes like a graceful dancer on opening night.

she danced to the sunlight.
arms twirling in open air.
a smile gently on her face
and golden rays brushing her cheek
a new canvas waiting for life.

i want to take this moment. tuck it in my pocket and save it for a rainy day. save it forever.

Scarlet Begonias by Grateful Dead on Grooveshark

Yesterday our music classes started back up and Jessica was beyond thrilled. In fact, we came home to experiment with her new materials (here she's holding a shaker) and listen to music. At first I put on some tunes so the kids could dance and play and I planned on cleaning up the kitchen. But when I caught Jess dancing out of the corner of my eye I had to put down my work and join in. This girl loves to dance and she loves her music. She takes after her mom and dad! So on a Wednesday afternoon we danced by the window to the Dead and forgot about our chores. We embraced the light of the day and it was good moment.

linking up with just write and small style

natural face cleaner

Last month I was on the search for a good oil to use as a moisturizer for my face. I have very sensitive skin and the winter months tend to take a toll on it, especially my face and hands. I was looking for a natural moisturizer that would do the trick but also leave my face feeling fresh and rejuvenated. My friend Erica quickly jumped in and recommended the oil cleaning method. I've used oils on my body before but I'm always been a bit nervous about trying something new on my face.

It's been over a month since I've been using this method and I couldn't be happier with the results! I do my routine every night and it does remove all traces of makeup. The skin on my face is clean and soft. Most times I don't use extra moisturizer but sometimes I use this at night and this during the day. I still use this eye cream everyday in an attempt to prevent those wrinkles.


Simply follow these instructions from Simple Mom blog. I found a glass container with an eye dropper at my local health food store and I use this to mix my oils.

1. Make your cleaner

Simply mix the oils together in a small bottle, give it a little shake, and you’ve got yourself a homemade, frugal facial cleanser. The most popular blend of oils for this cleansing method is castor oil and extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). The castor oil draws out dirt and other gunk from your pores. The EVOO is a brilliant moisturizer, helping heal and nourish the skin.

• For those with normal skin, you could start off with a one-to-one ratio of castor oil and EVOO.

• For those with acne-prone or oily skin, reduce the proportion of EVOO, and try three parts castor oil to one part EVOO.

• For those with drier skin, start off with one part castor oil to three parts EVOO. This is what I use.

Experiment, and find what ratio works for you. Just start off with a little bit, and then try it for a few days.

2. Gently rub it in

Pour a quarter-sized amount into your palm, rub your hands together, and slowly massage your skin with your fingertips. Don’t splash your face with water first — apply it dry. Work the oil into your skin for about a minute, and enjoy the peaceful massage at work. Don’t scrub — just rub.

3. Steam your face

Next, wet a washcloth with hot water (but not scalding!), and put it over your face until it’s about room temperature. This is steaming out your pores, removing the impurities and the dead skin cells. It’ll take about a minute — enjoy the nearly-free facial.

4. Wipe off the oil

Take the washcloth, rinse and wring it, then gently wipe off the oil. Your skin will probably feel softer immediately.


That's it! I follow this method every night. In the morning I wake up and splash my face with water and pat dry.
I then add a small amount of moisturizer, make up if I choose and I'm all set for the day.

If you decide to try this let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts and results.

24 January 2012


A thursday night date while Julie babysat the kids.
Dinner at a local restaurant and home for a movie.
I love Jon's face in this picture ;)
A picnic on the living room floor.
Stealing blueberries from brother.
Lounging after school with some good books.
Errands and such with my little lady.
Cuddles and laughs.
Delicious vegan oreo cupcakes that were devoured with friends on friday night.
Saturday pizza night and crafts with the kids.
Tiny hands working hard.
Sunday brunch followed by a day with my loved ones.
And a successful open house! I think we're getting closer to selling. I just have a feeling.

I meant to post this yesterday but the day slipped away and the night turned into a disaster. Bailey ran away around the kid's bedtime so I had to pack everyone up and we drove around for an hour with no luck. It was cold, wet and dark and I was devastated. At one point a saw a huge lump on the side of the road and gasped so loudly Jonas sensed my tension. Thankfully it was only a pile of dirty snow. We finally headed home when Josh announced he was exhausted. I got the kids in bed and sat by the door calling for him. Jon, being the wonderful husband and father that he is, left work and drove around until he found him. And of course he was wet and muddy because he goes swimming every time he runs away so Jon put on all his rain gear and wellies and gave him a bath. I have the best husband ever! We ended our night with small talk on the couch over a glass of wine and an episode of Battlestar Galactica.

22 January 2012

hello sunday.


Finally, Sunday! It has been a long and busy week my friends, hence the lack of posts. With Joshua being sick with the flu I struggled to catch up all week. I'm still finishing up loads of laundry and as I finish those new piles are accumulating. Jonas missed two days of school this week and Jess has the signs of a winter cold. It has been a long week.

Friday the kids spent the night at my parent's while I hosted a meeting at my house. Even though we worked I had a great time sitting around the fire with friends, food and wine! My intentions were to wake up early on Saturday and workout but I slept until ten. I can't tell you the last time I slept in that late! I guess my body needed that rest. And it's so weird waking up with no kids in your bed and a quite house. Saturday was spent with the kids, Chipolte for lunch, sled riding, homemade pizzas, crafts, baths and cuddles in mom's bed. Jon came home from work to all of us snuggled in bed. The kids sleeping and me reading my book, which I can't seem to put down Catching Fire part two of the Hunger Games series.

And now it's Sunday, my favorite day of the week. As I type away I have sausage from the Italian store slowly cooking and my waffle batter resting. I'm sipping my coffee while Jonas plays a little of his Star Wars video game, Joshua makes a pipe cleaner craft, Jess plays in her kitchen and Jon reads the newspaper and checks Mr. Miner's blog. It's a good start to a sunday. We have an open house this afternoon and that means a clean house. Instant good mood for me! Although, these open houses are starting to get old. I'm ready. Let's sell and move on. I'm really really ready. I'm not a very patient person and the slow process of selling and buying a house is starting to get to me. So, wish us luck for today's open house.

Tonight we're making Thai chicken coconut soup, steamed dumplings and lettuce wraps for dinner. With all this food I should workout, but I'll save that for tomorrow. Hopefully Monday will bring a fresh start to our week and we'll be back on track with our schedule.

What does your Sunday bring for you?
Drop me a not, say hello. I would love to know.

18 January 2012

a boy and his guitar.



Joshua has been practicing with his new guitar and I though I would share this original piece with you.
I just love his performances. They always put a smile on my face.
Take special note of his bow.
It makes me laugh every time!

i filmed this with my iphone and used the 8mm and imovie apps

17 January 2012

i ran.


yesterday i ran. between the cool raindrops and dark sky.
i let the wet pavement carry my feet. my mind traveling alone.

yesterday i ran. to the sound of music and beat of my heart.
the winter day wrapped around my body. taking me further with each step.
i waited for rain to become snow. for soft flakes to kiss my skin.

i ran.



Since Jess was born I've lost my focus when it comes to running. I still run every week, but I'm lucky to get in three runs. Perhaps it's a lack in motivation, perhaps it's the weather but I've decided this is one of my main goals for 2012.

Get out and run. Run more, run longer, run harder.

That being said... I'm always looking for new music to run to so if you have any suggestions or favorites please share!
My current list includes Phish (duh, I'm sure you knew that), MGMT, Pretty Lights, Florence and the Machine, Black Keys, STS9 and I always have a little Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix on hand.

No running for me today though and probably not tomorrow. We have two sick little boys on our hands. Joshua woke up last night around midnight and got sick in bed and that continued every hour all night. I hate seeing the little ones so sick, It breaks my heart when you are powerless. No matter how many kisses and hugs I could give Joshua wasn't getting better. After a day of rest, soup and lots of fluids (thanks Nana for bringing them over) Joshua is tucked into bed right now and feeling better. Jonas is feeling much better too although I think he had a slight case of the sympathy sickness. He did have a cough and cold but seemed extra sick today since Josh was so down. Sounds suspicious to me ;)

16 January 2012

sunday favorite.


Sundays have become my favorite day of the week.

lazy mornings filled with warmth from the fire.
bedroom cuddles with the family. coffee in pajamas.
french toast and fruit. the sweet smell of Ohio maple syrup.
a stolen moment with my book while a baby naps.
magical forts built under the darkness of bedrooms.
secrets whispered behind giggles.


It was a good weekend. I'm sticking to my goal of focusing less on the things around me and more on my family. I'll take a night of fort building and books over any meeting or social event.

We laughed. A lot.
Under the covers of our fort. In the dark of the room.

On Sunday we had an open house which meant a clean home and a clean home always puts me in a good mood. While Jon showed the house we hung out with my parents and Julie and sipped coffee and hot chocolates. We came home to play and relax. Jon's mom joined us for dinner and family movie night. And, I had no idea that Dolphin Tale would make me so emotional! I'm not normally a crier but this movie was waterworks for me, but it made for a great family movie. I was concerned it may be too "old" for the boys but Jonas got and Josh kinda got it. And that little Josh. He asks so many questions through ANY movie you just have to laugh at his cuteness.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend. Today is a Holiday for us. No school for the boys which means lunch at the restaurant, a trip to the museum, home to cook and bake a dessert and a family dinner for us since Jon is off tonight.