Saturday, April 30, 2016


As spring is fully displaying it's wonders right now, I'm reminded of this truth often.  In every brilliant blossom and nursing newborn and wonder we stumble across...

"Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way, say nothing and listen as heaven whispers, "Do you like it?  I did it just for you."  ~Max Lucado

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Waste Not Fruit Leather

 Are you guys getting this crazy heat!?  88 degrees in April just seems surreal!  I used to LOVE the sun, and it couldn't get too hot for me, but now I'm afraid Alaska has ruined me.  I feel like I'm melting as soon as the mercury hits 80 and I'm more than a little concerned about this upcoming summer!  But, oh!  The blooms!  The variety of plants that are thriving in this climate never ceases to astound me.  My neighbor threw some lilac boughs on the burn pile yesterday because she had to thin her tree out a little, but I couldn't bear it!  I had to rescue them and brought them all in the house! =)

We've had a lovely week of exploring gardens, wading in creeks, and shooting with friends.  Not to mention catching tad poles and filling up the kiddie pool!  Our little lady has decided that while we're out and about, her snack of choice is an apple.  Not slices, no, the whole thing.  And that's all well and good except, she gets it to where it is just beginning to look polka-dotted with her tiny little bite marks and then she decides she's done.  Even on her best day, she'll eat off all the skin but doesn't want to eat the flesh.  But I'm pretty okay with it because of my latest technique for using what we have. 

Last summer we made a lot of smoothies with unfinished bits of fruit, but this spring I've been taking it a different direction.  Like I've said before, good fresh fruit was difficult to come by in Fairbanks, so it pains me to see it go to waste!  So lately, I've taken the leftover bits and pieces and throwing them into the blender, then in my dehydrator to make fruit leather.  This is so easy!  I only have one tray right now, so my blender half filled with puree will then fill my dehydrator tray just about perfectly.  As. Kadee mentions in her post Oh So Delicioso, the right consistency comes from patience and spreading it so it's just thicker than transparent.  In the dehydrator set to 135, this will take about 6 hours to fully dry. But keep checking on it as you get close because different combinations are going to take different lengths.  It should feel fairly dry to the touch. 

And flavor combinations are endless!   Right now, mine usually involve some apple and banana, but I've been adding in melon, orange, and blackberries.  I did a couple adding a spoonful of honey or sweetened jam, but it certainly wasn't necessary.  I even did one that was about half Greek yogurt!  It was really tasty!  This is another place to sneak in some well paired vegetables as well, like cucumber, spinach and carrots.  I've snuck them all in! =) 

So far this spring, I haven't had a batch last more than a day.  The young 'uns eat it like candy, it's easy to make and easy to grab on the go!  My next batch is going to be blackberry watermelon.  What other concoctions could we come up with?

Note: our family shares our own germs, but if you're making this to share outside of immediate family, I recommend using non-nibbled fruit! =)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Recovery (Fair Review and New Game: Pong Hau K'i!)

Alright folks, climbing back in the saddle after a wild rodeo of a weekend!  But it sure was fun!  As I mentioned before, I've been a bit absent of late prepping for GWMC's first craft fair!  It was very small, but I made a handful of sales and met some really wonderful people!  Thanks to all of you who stopped by or had a hand in the behind-the-scenes work!  I can't imagine having done it without you (certainly not without a few more silver hairs to add to my crown ;)

All in all, I felt pretty prepared (thanks to some Pintrest hints).  Maybe a little too prepared.  I may have diversified excessively, but I think it worked out in the end.  I sold everything from skirts and bibs to notecards to fudge!  One item that caught all the children's eyes were these little game boards with flat marbles as game pieces.  I'll be honest, Josh and I broke them out during some of the slow times, too!  But so easy to make and I wanted to share the idea with you!

You can get these tree rounds at a craft store, but they can get a little spendy.  Josh just took a branch that had been trimmed from one of our trees and went at it with the chain saw!  I was really quite impressed with how narrow he was able to get them!  I'll have to remember that for future projects! =)  After a light sanding, I did some quick straight lines with a wood burner, but I'm sure you could accomplish the same effect with a permanent marker.  Then seal with a layer of matte clear coat!
I'm fairly certain everyone knows how to play tic tac toe, so I'm not including instructions.  Though my four year old and his buddy had a pretty interesting version of it that I'm sure they'd love to teach you if given the chance =)  But I found this other small board game from China called Pong Hau K'i that I thought was really fun!  The idea is that to players each have two pebbles.  They take turns placing them one of the intersections or corners.  They then continue to take turns moving to the open space with whichever pebble can go there by following a line until one player is unable to move.  So you try to trap your opponent onto one side.  Video instructions from "What Do We Do All Day."  I really enjoyed learning something new and simple to play and I hope you will, too!