Monthly Archives: October 2014

Creating Garden Gnome Costumes

gnome costume - krisandlarry.comI was honored to be able to make our annual family costumes. Every year we do a theme for the family (this year it is for all 16 of us – our family of 10, my sister Jen and her family and my parents)… This year, Mazy’s (my dad’s gun and cigar store) has one of the business booths at the community “Trunk or Treat” event put on by the Town of Chino Valley

For the boys, we made tunics and beards, both out of felt. They are wearing sweat shirts and pants under. We made belts as well to go around the tunics.

For the girls, we made knee length skirts and shawls. They are also wearing sweatsuits under their outfits.

Everyone is getting a gnome hat as well.



The tunics are rectangle pieces of felt with ovals cut out for the head openings.

The beards are white felt cut in the shape of a beard with layers of white felt cut with one wavy side and sewn across over lapping. Then, we added a piece of Velcro onto the front on each side at the top to Velcro the beards to the hats.

The belts are just long pieces of fabric tied in the back.

Belt Buckles are pieces of foam core cut and spray painted silver.

The girls’ skirts are just simple  elastic skirts and I added a shawl of felt. We also cut and ironed on fabric mushrooms on some of the costumes.

Gnome Costumes - Gnome Costumes -
 - Family of gnomes

Boule Artisan Bread (EASY)

Boule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.comI used to make bread daily… that is until we discovered that one of our sons, Trystan, is severely gluten intolerant(Leaky gut syndrome SUCKS – especially for a 6 year old boy who just wants to gobble everything he sees!) Now, we make it a whole lot less… mostly on days that we make soups or stews only because I tend to eat bread with my soup as a tradition in our house…. And I love making toast with bruschetta. And my house smells so good! (The photo of the breads that we are making is whole wheat bread!)

This is a GREAT recipe to make bread bowls as well!!! Divide the dough into 4 or 5 smaller rounds, shape and bake!


  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat (We grind our own, so we add 2T of wheat gluten too) – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board)
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • Optional toppings: see belowBoule Artisan Bread -



    1. In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
    2. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
    3. Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
    4. Blend well until dough forms.
    5. Place dough ball in clean bowl.
    6. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
    7. Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette  (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
    8. Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)
  1. (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos on their bread)
  2. Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Essential Oil Tuesday – Homeschooling FUN – Gluten-Free Playdoh (play dough) + essential oils

  • Glute Free Dye Free Play Dough - www.krisandlarry.com1/2 cup white rice flour (You can use brown rice flour as well – I did when I ran our of white)
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 4 drops Essential oils  (Peace and Calm  or even lavender – works wonders on my kids)
  • Several drops of food coloring or 1-2teaspoons of natural dyes made from dried veggies. See Below!

We don’t use processed dyes in our home, however, my sister made us natural dyes from dehydrating and grinding up vegetables.  You can add several drops of dye OR a teaspoon of ground dried beets(for red) or dried ground carrots (for orange), spinach (for green). The natural dyes will not be as vibrant, but OH MYYY! SO much healthier. In our photo, we used 2 teaspoons of dried ground beets.

Mix together all ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until it forms a ball. Cool completely before storing in a air tight container.

I get all of my essential oils through Young Living because they are the highest grade that you can get… Safe for my whole family. visit for more information.

Repurpose old lockers – Honor Him wall saying

IMG_20141023Repurpose old gym lockers - Front Entry Hall Storage -


I found an amazing find at a yard sale (if you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I am a closet-case yard saler! It is my way of escaping for a little while on Friday mornings with my mom and clearing my head of kid stuff for a little while. Having Larry off on Fridays is a HUGE help, and 2 of our kids (2 of our adopted boys) have therapy, so Larry takes them to that for me.

I found a set of old high school gym lockers at a yard sale for $40. (Although ugly in color) They were nearly PERFECT! They were in this super nice man’s shed for the last 30 years as part of his workshop area.

A roll of my husband’s eyes for having to get the trailer hooked up on the suburban and loading kids up to help move this bad boy, we had the rust colored family project at home and in the front patio. $20 later in spray paint (I had to go with Cherry Red) and a visit to a few websites, I have finally found the exact fixtures to fix the 2 broken handles (Still have to work on that part)

This is my new kid organizer! Yes, It is in my front all of my CRAZY Kidlett Ranch. And OH MY! 8 Kids living here right now AND 8 lockers… Never a missing sweatshirt or pair of shoes again!

It took me all weekend to tape and paint… and then moving it was a feat in itself. But, now, we have the PERFECT (and almost CRAZY) piece of furniture in my house… and IT WORKS!! (Even if one of my in-laws thought that it was tacky! LOL) And if I find another one… I would scoop it up just as fast too!


To complete what I wanted as my entry hall was a saying from Facing the Giants. AWESOME MOVIE!!!

“And if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes.”

I changed it up a bit to fit our family…

Praise Him when you win

Praise Him when you lose

Honor Him in all you do



Compost and Worms

Composting and worms - krisnadlarry.comAfter we were gifted some beautiful new hens, Griffen noticed that they liked to dirt bathe. After all of the crazy monsoon rains, the dirt in the coop packed down. I took a shovel out to loosen some of the ground up to let the chickens have a place to scratch loose dirt and when I flipped over the dirt, I noticed HUNDREDS of earthworms!!!

This mama was on a mission! I kept digging around the coop and there were worms in every shovel that I flipped…. Out came the lawn mower and it’s trailer. Griffen and my nephews, Brent and Jakey, filled the trailer for me to move over to my compost pile!

There was “gold” in that poo! My compost will be BEAUTIFUL for the garden next year!!!

The boys are bringing a wheelbarrow every day to my compost pile in my garden… And they LOVE to do it because they get to play with WORMS!!! (Hey, and mom’s compost pile is getting bigger and bigger too!)


Happy 7th birthday to my BEAUTIFUL Rowan!

happybirthdayroweyFirst off, you need to stop growing…my babies CAN NOT be 7! You have to be turning 3, Right? Because my baby can not be in 1st grade!


Happy Happy 7th Birthday to my beautiful Rowan!

I love that you are  so independent!

I love that you snuggle every morning with me. (And try to steal my warmth!)

I love that you adore your “twin”.

I love that you love to pet the chickens.

I love that you sneak the kitties your dinner thinking that I wasn’t watching you!

I love how you were so excited that you lost your first tooth!

I love how you sing Frozen Songs on Karaoke!

I love that you hold my hand!

I love that you have a red-headed temper (and live up to your middle name of Aidyn).

I love that you are Daddy’s girl!

I love that you and El jokingly fight over who loves mom more.

I love that you pretend to not read when we are doing school work in order to make Trystan do all of the hard work (and then later read something without mistakes to me!)

I love that you have a BFF (and Ali loves that too!)

I love you SO MUCH!

Making your own Sour Dough Starter + Easy Bread Recipe

Sour Dough Starter - www.krisandlarry.comI LOVE sour dough… and I don’t like buying bread because I don’t like what the grocery stores put in bread! (If I can’t pronounce it, then I don’t want my kids eating it!)

I found the COOLEST antique crocks at a yard sale (Hi, my name is Kris and I am a closet case Yard Saler!) They were only $2 each, so I couldn’t pass them up.  And one is large enough for sour dough starter!!!

Day 1 – 2 Cups of water and 2 cups of flour stirred together in the crock (or a gallon sized pickle jar) Place a piece of cheese cloth over the top of it, tied on with a ribbon or a rubber band.

Day 2 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon). Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 3 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 4 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 5 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 6 -Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 7 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

By day 8, you should have some sufficient sour dough starter that you can make bread!! Look for my sour dough breads recipes in future posts too! Now is when you refrigerate your starter (unless of course you are feeding it still… which you can) Watch for gnats (root gnats like the smell of sour dough – seriously, those pesky little flying monkeys will try to get into your starter even with cheesecloth on the top of  it.)

You can use a cup of the starter in any of your  recipes… and then replace the cup with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water, mix well and let sit out for 24 hours and then put in the fridge until you are going to use it again.


Easy Bread Recipe:

  • 4-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 cup of sourdough starter
  • 1-1/2 cups water

Mix together ingredients and let rise on counter for 60 minutes. Shape into loafs and let rise again for 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I bake all of my shaped loaves on either clay or on my baguette pans depending on the shape of the bread.

I also put a metal tray in the bottom of my oven and put 4 cups of water in it so that the outside of my bread crusts over.

Dill Pickled Carrots

Dill Pickled Carrots - www.krisandlarry.comMy kids are GAGA for anything pickled… They will go through a gallon sized pickle jar in one afternoon. (EEEWWW I can’t stand pickles!) Pickled Carrots are one of their favorites… and such a sweet special treat for them. We buy carrots in 25 pound bags at our house (they love eating them as afternoon snacks)


  • 4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns per jar
  • 30 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half for each jar
  • 1 teaspoon dill (We use dried from our garden) per jar

I like the tall 1-1/2 pint jars for my pickles and for my pickled carrots.

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix distilled white vinegar, white sugar, and salt,  Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Place the carrots in sterile containers. Top carrots with onions, peppercorn, garlic and dill.
  3. Cover with the vinegar solution.
  4. Water bath seal your jars for 20 minutes
  5. Marinate carrots 12 hours or overnight before serving.

Essential Oil Tuesday – Whipped Peppermint Body Butter

Essential Oil Tuesday - Whipped Body Butter - www.krisandlarry.comPerfect for a holiday gift!!! Whip these up and share with your favorite elves this holiday season!



  • 1 Cup coconut oil (in solid form)
  • 1T Shea Butter (We use Organic, Unrefined and Raw)
  • 10 drop of peppermint essential oil (or any oil of your choice)

Whip together all of the ingredients from about 4 minutes in a kitchen mixer… about half way through, turn off the mixer and crush any of the lumps with the back of a metal spoon.


Check out Elwyn’s video below!!




Hard-boiled Eggs – STEAM THEM INSTEAD!!!

So seriously, even with all of these chickens, did you know that I can not stand eggs? I have NEVER hard-boiled an egg in my life nor have I ever eaten one… I am thinking that the smell is just EEEWWW. Don’t Judge Me!!! I know… WEIRD, Right?!?!  I do like eggs in my cakes and muffins. As a matter of fact, I prefer duck eggs in my cakes because they whip creamier and fluffier.

Hard Boiled EggsI had to dig out one of my cookbooks to even figure it out!! LOL I will eat scrambled well and omlettes on a rare occasion, but I am not one to eat eggs.

So seriously, I started thinking about all of the snacks that would benefit my kids… And being that eggs are yellow and white protein, some of my little boys need that extra protien in their diet. (Ahem, Berlyn, Mr. Autism!)

I do have several kids (thanks to my sister, Jen at who love deviled eggs made with her home-made mayo. Jen brings deviled eggs to Sunday dinner often and Trystan and Berlyn go “APES” over those!!

Ok, so I put 12 eggs in a pot of cold water, along with 1/4 cup white vinegar and a pinch of salt. I turned on the stove and started heating up the eggs.  (So far, so good! Just following directions!!!)

Once the water boiled, I set the times for 7 minutes (from the notes of my grandma’s recipe card!) I put the cooked eggs in ice water to cool. I tried to peel them!!! EPIC FAIL! I couldn’t get the shell off of my eggs!!!! Berlyn sat and peeled 5 of them for himself anyway, so I don’t feel too bad. And he ate every bit of them!!

ABM_1413241808To the phone I go!   My sister Jen is AMAZING and one of my favorite Go-To peoples for things like this

**** My sister gave me an even better trick!!***

STEAM THEM! –  Ok… Into the steamer they go! 25 minutes of steaming, drop them into ice water for 3 minutes and the shells came RIGHT OFF!!! The trick is to crack the end, roll in your hands and peel just below the membrane.

The other trick is fresher eggs peel better… I had a dozen store bought (yes, I know!! This was before we were gifted so many new layers!) and they peeled horribly.