Adventures And Stories

Vanilla Ice Cream With Fresh Chocolate Mint

My youngest is home from a fabulous day of summer camp at one of our local farms.  Sunflower Farm has it all from hay bale maze, to zip lines, to ponies, to cherry pickin’.  The fun is non-stop.  Needless to say little V is covered in dirty farm happiness and in need of some serious down time this afternoon.

feet

So this afternoon found us quietly rambling in the yard harvesting a bit of our freshly growing chocolate mint.  So it is so yummy and vivacious with dark green leaves and chocolate colored square stems.  I love having this plant growing in our yard.  We took our mint inside to create our first ice cream of the season.  I love making frozen desserts with my kids using healthy ingredients!

chocomint

Ingredients ~

  • 16 oz of cream or milk, we used cream from grass-fed cows but coconut milk would be wonderful too!
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of fresh chocolate mint
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of honey or whole sugar (we used sucanat for this batch)
  • the seeds scraped from half a vanilla bean pod and/or 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Directions ~

Wash the mint and remove any stems.  Place the mint, sweetener and vanilla in a blender and grind everything together for a few minutes.  The add the cream/milk and blend until everything is combined very well.  Taste the resulting mixture to make sure everything is delicious, make adjustments if necessary.  Then dump the liquid into an ice cream maker and freeze following manufacture directions.  My kids and another child from the neighborhood couldn’t get enough of this stuff.  A super yummy summer treat!

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Shared On: Simple Meals Friday, Wild Crafting Wednesday

Categories: Adventures And Stories, Food Is Your Best Medicine, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Kitchen Creations, Natural Family Care | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Apple Blossoms

apple blossoms

     Tight little pink buds open daily into the sweetest white blossoms on our two apple trees.  These trees are very, very special trees.  We planted them 5 years ago on Mother’s Day as a family.  One tree for each of my children, underneath which we buried the placentas from their births.  Giving the trees ultimate nourishment and offering an act of honor to the lives my husband and I brought into this world, a celebration of birth and family.

After we finally set down roots in our home, we broke ground for these two trees.  You see, after the birth of my first daughter we moved a total of four times in two years.  With each move we made, I toted the placenta from her birth from home to home.  Keeping it frozen in a container, I transferred it from freezer to freezer as one of my most valued possessions.  So after we had been in our current house for a couple of years, greeting a new baby during that time, I felt it was time to plant these trees.

And as my daughters grow, their trees grow, marking this passage of time and showing so beautifully how life becomes enriched and deepened with each passing moment.  This year the trees are beginning to mature, becoming big, all covered in beautiful blossoms with the promise of delicious fruit soon to come.

apple blossoms

What, if anything, did you do with your child’s placenta?

Shared On:  The Sunday Parenting Party, Eco-Kids Tuesday
Categories: Adventures And Stories, Mama Care And Empowerment, Moon Time, Parenting, Pregnancy & Birth | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

In The Middle

Soft windy air swirling feeling wonderful on my skin, not accustom to the sun.  The sky is full of billowing Spring clouds backed by bright blue.  As I walk with my dog Cinnamon around our neighborhood into balmy winds, I find myself pondering as I often do on walks.  I ponder how long we will live in our current house, thinking of the wonderful schools my children go to and will go to in the very near future.  I ponder where I lived as a child and my friends’ homes, realizing that none of their parents live in my friend’s childhood homes any longer.

floweringtreepath

“Um, I wonder how long until we can move, if we choose to do so, until the kids are through school?”  I find myself thinking such thoughts for the first time…

And I realize that eleven years is the answer.  Eleven years until my youngest graduates from high school.  That is not really very long.  Eleven years ago I had a newborn baby, I was a new mom.  My life completely turned upside down as I started on this path of raising kids.  And it hits me, that I am in the middle.  In the middle of what I think of as hardcore parenting.  The kind of parenting when you have to literally be ready for anything at any moment.  Over the past couple of years I watched this mile stone coming.  I knew it would get here and probably arrive sooner than I wanted it too.  I still see my youngest as a very small child yet when I come home from teaching at the preschool, I can’t help but see her growing into a big girl, a girl who is changing so fast, and quickly loosing all those last vestiges of toddlerhood.  My oldest is set on the edge of blooming into a teenager which is almost mind-boggling as well as completely beautiful.

I am in the middle.

The middle of motherhood.

The middle of life.

Wow.

reflectionechinancea

From here I can see my past particularly through the lens of my own motherhood, I see my childhood and I grow.  I learn those lessons I missed and change.  I appreciate more my own parents and my life.  Of course I can’t see the future yet I feel myself letting go of the desire to fix everything and make it all as it should be.  Rather I want to let things be and experience.  I am in the middle and excited to experience the ride from here.

Shadows climb up
the garden wall
Upon the green
the first leaf falls
It’s the prime of life
and the king and queen
Step out into the sun…

…It’s the prime of life,
where the spirit grows
And the mirror
shows both ways

~ Neil Young

Shared On: The Sunday Parenting Party

Categories: Adventures And Stories, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Alive

Today, I hoped to write a nice post about how my teacher friends at preschool stay healthy around so many little ones but…

I am going to instead take the day to organize my thoughts (and my kitchen), finish up holiday shopping and take a nice long soaky bath.  Next week will be the perfect week to share all the great information I got from my teacher friends.  Until then, I want to share something my daughter said to me the other day.

Holding my hand with her small warm one, she gazed at me with her big sweet brown eyes and said, “Momma, thank you for keeping me alive.”  Then she gave me a big hug full of love.

There you go, that is what is important for today, taking care and mostly love.

hugs

Categories: Adventures And Stories, Parenting | Tags: | Leave a comment

Gingerbread House Party

It’s An Artistic Expression…

Ok, so I am not into candy, like at all.  Well, unless it is dark chocolate.  And while I don’t stop my kids from having an occasional munch, I certainly don’t promote it.  What I am into is kids doing lots of fun art, expressing themselves and getting lost in the enchantment of their own imagination.  Cooking with kids and getting them inspired about food is also big on my list.  So when I found out about the gingerbread house making birthday parties offered at a wonderful local cooking school, I had to jump on the chance for my little one’s sixth birthday party.  She loves to cook and create so I knew this would be a great opportunity for her.

This is not only review of a very fun educational place in Boulder, Colorado, it is also a sharing of a very fun time with lots of great ideas for making your own wonderful gingerbread houses!  At the bottom of this post are links to more great ideas for making a healthy gingerbread house.   Stir It Up Cooking School offers fun, exciting cooking classes, parties and camps for kids in a homey loving atmosphere.  It is a school of great imagination and fun!  If you are in the Boulder area and looking for some cooking fun, I highly recommend you look up this great school!

yummy fun

We had her party late in the season last year and I have waited this whole time with oodles of great pictures to share and all the fun of the day as well.

Sue, who was the amazing woman who ran V’s party, did a great job keeping the kids busy and engaged that whole time.  She started the party by having the kiddos make quesadillas and ice cream from scratch to have as a snack after all their hard work.  The kids each learned how to grate cheese and used cookie cutters to create a shape in the top of their quesadilla.  Then they quickly whipped up some wonderful ice cream and everyone watch enchanted as Sue filled up the ice cream maker.

Next they were on to making their houses.  Sue had baked up some simply lovely gingerbread house pieces which smelled heavenly.  The kids took off with painting their roofs.

Roof

After the kids finished painting their roofs of course they needed to make Christmas trees to put inside their houses.  What do you use for trees?  Ice cream cones!  Painted green, decorated and placed pointy side up, ice cream cones make the perfect tree.

cone painting

Next the houses came out which were all pre-assembled on little cake cardboard rounds.  Excellent instructions were given to the kids on how to use a pastry bag for decorating.  Finally came the candies with many wonderfully creative ideas of how to use them.  The frosting made the perfect glue for decorating.  I was so impressed by Sue’s imagination, she had lots of fun ideas for using the candies.

Gingerbread

Pretzel waffley things glued together became cozy chairs for gummy bears seated around the tree.  Outside the house two little ducks swim in a pond.

Gingerbread

Notice the presents?

gingerbread

Lovely siding!

Gingerbread

Lollipops lamp-post…

lollipop light post

V helps Sue put her roof on her house.

Deco

The class was so engaging that aside from frosting licked off fingers, no candy eating really happened except a stray piece here and there.  And once we were home the houses were just to pretty to eat.  So I guess the kids really did create a piece of art work after all.  And most important, they had an absolute blast!

Looking for some healthy gingerbread house alternatives to make at home?  

Me too!

Here is what I found so far:

Eat Chic Chicago  shows how to make a beautifully decorated house with nuts and dried fruit.

Simply Home Making   Another fun house with lots of ideas.  Also great pictures with instructions on how to bake the pieces for a house.  My favorite part is the popcorn roof with a whiff of popcorn smoke coming from the chimney.

Medomak Family Camp has ideas for a sweet little house and plus more great instructional pics.

Cooking Matters offers lots of fun ideas to use with a graham cracker base.

Shared On: It’s Playtime!, The Kid’s Co-Op, The Imagination Tree, Sunday Parenting Party

Categories: Adventures And Stories, Parenting, Winter, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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