Thursday, March 18, 2010

Vacation ~ Lemon Cake ~ Barn Owl Cam

We just got back from a little family vacation. It was wonderful. We saw pronghorn antelope, deer, and best of all - NO ticks! :)

The dc and dh went into a cavern and were full of excitement telling me about it (I stayed with the dog in the van reading, quite relaxing actually). That's what started the whole thing... We were reading Journey to the Bottomless Pit while studying slavery. One thing led to another and dh organized the trip to include a cave; along with horseback riding, historic sites for state history, the 2nd oldest Polish Catholic church (they've had perpetual Adoration there for the last 10 years so we were able to get inside, pray, and be enriched by the beautiful architecture, paintings, and faith emanating from within the small church), a Cathedral - the oldest standing church in the state (although they were fixing the speakers at the time we were there so it was a little...distracting - so beautiful though, amazing! Dh had to drag me and oldest dd out), and a Mexican market where the dc and I shared fresco de sandia (a watermelon drink) and a gordita. Not quite a pupusa but pretty close :).

We experienced quite the contrast of open ranch and hills, with NOTHING in sight, and downtown city life, with its different kind of fun and excitement.

What's Cookin'?

- Dd wanted a lemon cake for her birthday. It's amazing how often I find myself doing something I've never done before and hoping it comes out okay. I found and used this recipe with the following modifications:
I used palm oil to grease the pan instead of crisco. I used real butter instead of crisco. I used 1/4 cup white sugar and the rest demerara (or rapadura). I used Real Salt. I used 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract instead of the grated lemon peel (I'm lazy). I think I should have used the whole teaspoon. I used plain yogurt that had lots of whey (just because that's how it poured, not by design). I used a wonderful vanilla for the first time that I begged dh and dc to stop for on the way back from horse camp last weekend at a little store on the way. I didn't use the glaze; instead dd wanted cream cheese frosting (which I had also never made!). That was basically cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and a dash of vanilla. [We also made brownies and a boxed (organic to stay away from trans fats) lemon cake with butter frosting]

- Now that we're back from our trip I have to think about food again. There's bread dough to get ready, almonds to soak, oatmeal to soak, groceries to get, kefir grains to revive, yogurt to make, meat to thaw and get in the crockpot, coconut bark to prepare, etc.

What's Schoolin'?

-Clickschooling is, that's what! Here is an awesome link provided by clickschooling this week. It's a live cam of a barn owl in its nest. Worth a peek:

-We had LOTS of informal lessons and learning opportunities on our trip. From state history, to earth science, to animal husbandry, to cultural and religious heritage. The wonderful lady at the ranch spent 2 hours with us *before* dh and olders even started the trail ride. Then it was a 2 hour ride. We learned a lot all around!

Fluoride in the mainstream news:

It's not very in depth. The news is that it is in the news :).

After *much* hunting around months and months ago I settled on this for the dc. Right now I have the teeth cleaner from Tropical Traditions for me (and dc use it sometimes). Otherwise, for myself, I use Uncle Harry's or homemade following a ratio for baking soda, salt, and H2O2 (with a drop of peppermint oil in the batch). It's hard to find a toothpaste with no fluoride and no glycerine. The one the dc use has xylitol and sorbitol (which slipped by me but I just saw it as I was typing) but we're using it for now - the jury is not out on it yet so I'm a little cautious of it. I don't feel comfortable with the alcohol sugars yet. I accidentally got them tea tree last time. Poor kids! I promised to get mint as soon as possible, lol. It also has a few other things I'm not sure about so I'm not necessarily endorsing it - it's just the best I've found so far and is available locally. I am still looking for something better for them.

Too Bad:

We stopped at a Czech bakery famous for its kolaches. We got some and I made myself not think of the ingredients and just enjoy. Mmmm. On the other hand, they had these beautiful loaves of cheese bread and other kinds of bread that I wanted to take with us. I couldn't bring myself to pay $7 for loaves with partially hydrogenated soybean oil (sigh!!). There was something else blatant in the ingredients that I can't remember. I was so disappointed.

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