Montessori Muffin Madness

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If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence. – Maria Montessori

Sometimes it is messy, but when I give my children (3 and 5) space to do things on their own, their confidence shines throughout the day.  They feel more independent and start doing other things by/for themselves, without being asked; putting their shoes away, cleaning up their plates after a meal, making their beds.   The beauty in this independence is that we start to feel more like a team!

Bread and Butter

IMG_7720Morning activity is always a fun way to start the day.  And who doesn’t like warm bread and homemade butter?  The kids helped measure, mix, and knead the bread.  Then Ella covered “her baby” with a tea towel and placed the bowl outside in a sunny spot to “sleep and grow”.  While the dough had a sleep, we made butter.  Shake. Shake. Roll. It became a game.  We sat on the living room rug (lid screwed on very tight) and took turns shaking the jar of cream and then rolling it to the next person.

It was like a morning of magic.  First the cream turned into butter, and then the small ball of dough, doubled in size.  Once the dough had grown, everyone received a piece and shaped their bread however they desired.  Bread got cooked on the BBQ.  The closest thing we had to a pioneer cook pit.   Then we played outside while the air began to smell of deliciousness.  Blanket in the shade.  Bread on the cutting board.  Their own knife to butter their own homemade bread.  Heaven.

Cottage Cheese Waffles

Cottage Cheese Waffles: Yummy Protein Breakfast:: ecopiggy.com

I’m always looking for new ways to provide my kiddos with a protein packed breakfast to start their day out right.  We often have some form of eggs.  But even I’ll admit that eggs get boring, no matter how many different ways you make them.    My mom makes a cottage cheese salad.  She has since I was a little girl.  And since I was a little girl, it’s the ONLY way I consume cottage cheese.   It’s just not an ingredient on my regular shopping radar.

Cottage Cheese Waffles: Yummy Protein Breakfast:: ecopiggy.com

Or so it wasn’t, until I discovered that just a half a cup of cottage cheese has 14g of protein.   Naturally upon learning this I went straight to Pinterest and typed in ‘cottage cheese breakfast’, discovering this recipe by weelicious for Cottage Cheese Pancakes.  My kids love pancakes, but they could detect the cottage cheese lumps, and weren’t too excited about it.  So, I pulled out the Waffle Maker….SUCCESS!

Cottage Cheese Waffles: Yummy Protein Breakfast:: ecopiggy.com We use spelt flour in our house. “The gluten in spelt is water soluble; it is degraded by heat and is easily broken down by mixing action. Wheat gluten, in contrast, does not break down in water and only relaxes when exposed to heat and seems to get stronger as it is mixed – bakers refer to it as ‘developing the gluten’.” See this link for more details on the nutritional benefits of spelt flour.

This recipe calls for 1 cup of Cottage Cheese and 3 eggs, which of course come from our happy backyard chickens.   We drop blueberries onto the batter in the waffle maker before closing it up.  Yummers!  Enjoy.

Easy Peel Eggs

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Several months ago I put out a call for help.  I needed the perfect method of hard boiling eggs.  I needed the eggs to peel without loosing half the egg white.

Methods of all sorts arrived to my in box.  And most I had tried several times.  One suggestion caught my attention though….steaming.  Steaming?

It works amazingly well!!!  You must try it.

I use an “old fashioned” steaming basket, spread all the way open.  I set it in a satay pan with an inch of water, and load it with eggs.  Cover and turn the burner on high. Set the timer for 18 minutes.  The minute the timer beeps, I rinse the eggs with cold water and set them in a cold water bath.   When ready to enjoy, I tap (sometimes bang) the wider end and peel away.  The shell practically falls off.

Time it’s time for egg dying!  Visit our instagram account to see pictures.

 

December Recap

For those family and friends that live around the world and wonder about our daily life, here is a quick glimpse into our December 2014.  It’s just a glimpse, as there were many activities tucked in between each of the special events mentioned below.

Wephoto 2‘ve been working on one of our rentals, and the kids have been very accustomed to going to Home Depot nearly everyday.  On one of our last visits, one of the workers corralled us into the Santa seat for a family picture.  Notice this particular day I was shopping with Rapunzel and “the king”.

polarexpress“Polar Express” is a favorite family movie and when we heard there was an event happening at the railroad park, we committed to going.  Let’s just say that it was quite an adventure… and will always be a memory!  It was cold, and past Alex’s no-nap bedtime, but as we left the park, the kids were given a train “ticket” with a bell attached.  Ella asked what her ticket said, and when I told her she smiled with magical wonderment.  It made the whole adventure well worth it!makers

Homemade holiday gifts.  A girlfriend and I hosted a Craft Night, inviting lovely ladies over to Jennifer’s beautiful home to make lip balms, bath salts, and whipped body butter.  We had everything everyone needed to make their potions, along with gift wrap….and let’s not forget the yummy food and spiked cider.supperclub

Our family hosted December Supper Club.  It happened to fall on the fourth night of Hanukkah and we had three December birthdays…hence the theme became dreidal-spinning, birthday-celebration with slow roasted beef, cumin-scented beet latkes, curry sweet potato latkes, mushroom piroshke, pomegranate braised red cabbage, sufganiyot (jelly donuts) and homemade applesauce.  Did I mention winter mojitos!

nutcrackerNana and mommy took Ella on her first experience to see the Nutcracker.  It was amazing! As it started, I wasn’t sure Ella would be able to sit for two hours, but as the auditorium went dark and intermission began, Ella looked at me with pleading eyes and asked “Is it coming back?”

eveChristmas Eve is a grand Italian tradition with prawns, polenta, meatballs, stromboli…yum, yum, and more yum.  This year Ella and Alex helped make a pear and berry crumble, and mom was excited to share her English cocktail called a Snowball.

bowlingThis year for Nicola’s birthday we went bowling!  I haven’t been bowling in at least 12 years, as my score showed.  And I learned that my brother-in-law is talented at yet one (two) more things; spares and strikes!  Ella has been asking me everyday since, if we can go again.

We are beyond blessed to be surrounded by AMAZING family and rich friendships!  Happy Happy Merry Merry to everyone.