Saturday, March 31, 2012

To the Zoo We Go!!

What a wonderful spring day yesterday!  It was the most perfect time to go to the Topeka Zoo.
My oldest kiddo decided to stay home and help dad with cows and run errands.  So, I packed up the other 3 boys and the two cutie patootie girls that I watch and we headed to the zoo. 

Last year we went right in the middle of summer,it was way too hot, and they were renovating a majority of the animal habitats.  It was rather disappointing but I bought a season pass nevertheless in the hopes that with all the work they were doing would greatly improve our little zoo.

Wow, what a great improvement from last year!  It was not too warm out, so we saw just about every animal they had.  Our highlight was the mama hippo and her baby.  We had seen them last year, and it was exciting for the kids to see how they were getting along now. 

I think we watched the orangutans for 15 minutes.  The kids were fascinated by their climbing and jumping skills....I could not tear them away.  I think maybe they could relate with them and was just hoping they were not picking up any new ideas.

For some reason, the girls were enthralled with the African Crested Porcupine. ???? They had a blast!

She was very taken with all the flowers in bloom.  She's a woman of not too many words....but said over and over..."I loouvvee flawoors".  And in case you can't speak "2 yr old", it's, I Love Flowers! 

After seeing the zoo, we went across the road and enjoyed our picnic lunch....then the kids played at the awesome park for nearly an hour.  I was exhausted just watching them, but I knew if I just let them keep was going to be a nice, peaceful ride home....minus the snoring.

I think the older "cutie patootie" was a little worried about the squawking  geese roaming along the path near us.  I think she's going to make a break for it.

We can't wait to visit the zoo again next month for their homeschool education program.  The Topeka Zoo also has a summer camp, and tons of other fun experiences for kids! 

One exhausted mom,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Healthy Recipes

I'm trying to lose weight not only for my health, but before the dreaded bathing suit season.....YIKES!!!

My brother and his wife are advisors and distributors for a company called, ADVOCAREI love this're not starving yourself (those diets are doomed to fail), their products are natural, and nutrient rich.

Well, I just got done with the first week, which is the cleanse week.  I never felt hungry or deprived!  Needless to say, I'm loving my results!  I'm down 5 lbs, 2-1/2 inches around the waist, 1-1/2 inches around the hips!

They are big encouragers of losing weight the right way.....real food, vitamin enriched protein shakes, and supplements. Foods that are less processed (not easy). Exercise is recommended, which I'm starting this weekend. Adovocare is basically a springboard for a healthier lifestyle.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few food ideas that are healthy and a great way to help you lose weight....the right way.

Chicken Berry Salad
  • 4 oz. chicken diced, cooked,  and seasoned with rosemary, basil, and sea salt
  • organic 1/2 & 1/2 salad (spinach & spring mix) I use Wal-Mart's Marketside brand
  • Fresh Strawberries (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • Fresh Blackberries
  • 2 TBSP Light Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

Salmon and Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes
  • Wild caught Salmon, 
  • 1 bunch fresh Asparagus
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Mrs. Dash's (Salt-Free) Tomato, Basil, Garlic seasoning
Very lightly, coat salmon with olive oil, (use a pastry brush).
Season salmon with Mrs. Dash and bake on a baking sheet or glass pan, in a pre-heated 400 deg. oven for 12-15 min .
Rinse asparagus and dry it well. 
 Break or cut off bottom ends.
Drizzle 1 tsp. olive oil over asparagus and sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste.
Cut grape tomatoes in half (length-ways) and combine with asparagus.
Mix the asparagus with your hands to evenly distribute all ingredients.
Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, and roast on top rack of oven at 400 deg. for 15 min.

I usually serve this with organic brown rice, or you could roast some red potatoes too!

I'm experimenting with quinoa, so stay tuned!

    Here's to a long and healthy life!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rainy Day Playdough

Last week it rained every single cotton-pickin' day!   We had a blanket fort day, a movie day, a day at Science City, a catch up on our reading day.....and as the walls started closing in around us, and the boys were crawling up them, I was desperate for something to keep their little hands busy! 
Someone suggested playing with play-dough, but I had long ago  tossed it into the trash after scrapping it out of the carpet...but I did have the ingredients on hand to make it.
So, here it guarantee that it won't stick to your carpet, but it is natural, and non-toxic!

Mix the following ingredients in a pot over low heat ( recipe makes 1 lb) :

1 cup flour

1 cup water



1/2 cup salt


1 TBSP vegetable oil


1-1/2 tsp cream of tartar


Food coloring


Stir, it won't take long


before it starts to clump


dough is ready when it rolls into a ball

store playdough in Ziploc bags in the fridge

                                        Use waxed paper and hold it down
                           with painters tape for a non-stick 
                             work surface.

                                          I set out a bowl of plastic cutlery,
                            cookie cutters, a rolling pin, and
                            they had a blast!

Take that rainy day!




Monday, March 26, 2012

Garden Planning

UPDATE:   If you're a homeschooling family, pop on over to  The Homeschool Village and enter to win "Exploring Creation with Botany" text and notebook!  Hurry, I think submissions close in a day, as of May 2, 2012.

Ahhh, spring has sprung here in Kansas!  The grass is green, the birds are singing, and the temperature has been unseasonably warm!!
I am so glad we are through the winter months, even if we did have a mild winter!  Thank goodness, the sunshine has brought me a little more energy....
So, that brings me to thinking of replanting a vegetable garden.  If you're like me, I do not naturally have a "green thumb".  I need lots of assistance as far as, when to plant, when to harvest, etc...
I do not keep a gardening journal....really, people do that? 
My idea of gardening before, was around April, I would plant whatever I wanted in the garden, all at the same time, paying no heed to temperature or acidity of the soil, and when to exactly plant according to where I live.
Then, at good ol' Wal-Mart, I was thumbing through magazines and happened upon Mother Earth News: A Guide to Wiser Living

It was actually an issue discussing organic gardening.  While I'm no hippie, I do value and realize the healthful benefits of foods with no pesticides, chemicals or harmful toxins.  I try to buy organic when I can.  This can be somewhat challenging out in the middle of nowhere Kansas.  We do however have a farmers market that offers wonderful produce, the only other option nearby is, you guessed it, Wal-Mart.
Anyway, they had a wonderful article about garden planning!  It was so exciting....I bought the magazine ,brought it home and immediately set to planning my garden!

This is an example of a planned out garden, not mine, but it shows how you can make it into whatever your little heart desires.

If you visit the  Vegetable Garden Planner site from Mother Earth News, you will not be sorry!
It offers precise planning as to when to plant according to your neck of the woods, and when to harvest!
Plus you can draw your garden on a grid and it spaces everything out according to what you are planting.  It was so simple for me to use.  Plus it keeps record of what , when, and where you planted to make crop rotation  a snap!
Oh, and did I mention yet that you get a FREE, yes FREE 30-day trial?  No credit card just set up an account, which is just your email, and password.  Then you're ready to go.
Here's a peek at mine if you're curious.  I still have some tweaking to do, but it'll give you a good idea!

My Garden!

Need a little more info?  Here's a tutorial you can view, that helps with using the planner.

Good luck, and may the "green thumb" be ever in your favor! Sorry, a little Hunger Games humor.

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