Monday, August 17, 2015

Learning about the Night Sky and Chocolate Night bark

This last year, I've been doing Motherhood On A Dime's God's Little Explorers preschooler program with my four year old. We've really enjoyed it. It's flexible and easy to add or change if need be. Big Blue Eyes loves that we read a story from the bible each week (the weekly plan centers around that as well) and she particularly enjoys the songs. I love the addition of chore ideas (learning to fold laundry, sweep the floor, etc.).

This idea stems from U is for Up in the Sky. It's week 27 in the God's Little Explorers program.

Big Blue Eyes really enjoyed the pinpricking constellation idea and then drew with a white crayon to connect her constellations (picture below). We also checked out Fancy Nancy: Stellar Stargazer! from the library and did some nighttime sight-seeing.
We used to have a preschool/kitchen book but I was not pleased with the ingredients in most of the recipes so I was trying to come up healthy alternatives or just starting from scratch. When I was trying to think of a "whole food" alternative to making constellations or an edible night sky, I received Sarah Britton's cookbook My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season in the mail. I was flipping through it and I found a recipe for what she deems "Night Sky." I was sold!

Her recipe is a wonderful totally-from-scratch chocolate bar recipe so please buy the book so you can try it her way (plus you'll get to enjoy all her other amazing recipes). Here, I've substituted chocolate chips for an easier alternative for Moms and children. Then I laid out the "Star and Moons" toppings in little glass bowls for Big Blue Eyes to decorate the bark with. She had lots of fun and was excited to enjoy her Night Sky treat! This would also be a great gift idea for children to help make.

I know I mention "healthy alternatives" and here I am showing you how to make chocolate bark. Shame on me! This is, of course, a treat. But a fun one!


Night Sky Chocolate Bark
3 cups chocolate chips (Enjoy Life semi-sweet and Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate are both dairy-free)
Large tablespoon coconut oil
Star and Moon toppings:
Bee Pollen
Rose hips (dried)
Coconut flakes
Pink sea salt
Goji Berries
Chopped Nuts and Seeds
Dried Blueberries
Freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries

1. In a double bowler, melt chocolate chips and large tablespoon coconut oil.
2. Once melted, spread chocolate on a parchment paper-lined tray.
3. Sprinkle with star and moon toppings.
4. Let cool in refridgerator then cut and enjoy.

All the toppings can be found at your local natural grocery store, amazon, and Mountain Rose Herbs, my favorite place.

I'd really encourage you to buy her Sarah Britton's cookbook. I usually steal borrow my mom's cookbooks but this one I knew I needed my own copy.

And if you are looking for a homeschool program, make sure to check out Motherhood On A Dime's God's Little Explorers preschooler program. I plan to do that program with my next child when he is old enough. For now, I am planning Big Blue Eyes' kindergarten year. Excited and pumped for a new year of homeschooling!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Just Peachy Lemon Balm Smoothie

To be peachy or not to be peachy... that is the question.
Well, if you are trying to be peachy and not succeeding, you probably need a little more lemon balm in your life.
Just saying.

Lemon balm is a natural nerve tonic. It calms and soothes anything from frazzled feelings to sleepless nights to baby's toothaches. There is a reason Lemon Balm has "balm" attached to its name. How very astute of us to notice!
With its lemony flavor and bright taste, this herb will liven up any smoothie. We added additional greens for a chlorophyll - rich smoothie and chia seeds for extra nutrients and a little omegas. I love adding chia seeds; they make for a fluffier smoothie without additional ice.
So if you know you're going to have a particularly difficult day (or enduring it as we speak), nourish your soul and body with a little lemon balm and a good book ( I recommend Queen by R.J. Larson or any of her wonderful series).

Just Peachy Lemon Balm Smoothie
1 cup coconut water (or nondairy milk)
3-4 peaches, depending on size
2 leafs of kale
Handful of Lemon Balm
Handful of ice
2 TB chia seeds
Blend and enjoy! And I hope the rest of your summer is just peachy!
We've been enjoying lots of peaches thanks to a wonderful peach-picking day with grandparents and great grandparents.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Psalm 62:1-2

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Learning to Braid using Pipe Cleaners

Need something for your preschooler to do:
Bright? Colorful? Inside activity? Practice motor skills?
Check all of the above! And there is a wearable finished product!
Sounds good.
All you need are pipe cleaners, tape and a surface that is tape-able (that's a word, right?). Because mothers of preschoolers know that not all surfaces are "tape-able".
Twist the ends of three pipe cleaners (using different colors is helpful).
Tape it the table.
Now show how to pull apart three strands and starting with one side layer over the middle so it's now in the middle.
Then repeat with opposite side (great opportunity to talk about opposites).
Repeat and repeat until done.
When finished, twist ends and twist together to form bracelet if you choose.
Our lovely pipe cleaner braid bracelets...

Again, a lot easier to show then instruct.
And if you need a load of pipe cleaners, don't forget to check amazon!

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