Tag Archives: Just4Fun

Homemade Chai Tea

I love the taste and the smell of Chai Tea… I hate the price tag at coffee shops…. So, Let’s make our own!!

 

Chai Tea: a beverage that is a blend of black tea, honey, spices, and milk.

 

I simmer 3 black tea bags in a pot with 4-6 cups of water. I add my spices in a cheesecloth or flour sack wrap that I tied close

Spice bag is filled with several cinnamon sticks, and about a Tablespoon of whole allspice, whole cloves and whole coriander, 3 or 4 whole star anise. I also add about 1 teaspoon of ginger and cracked black pepper. This mixture gives a yummy spice flavoring. Sometimes I will add some licorice root as well to change the flavor. 

I cut a flour sack to a 6x6in square and place all of my spices in the center and then tie the top. 

Once brewed, let the tea sit and seep for about an hour to meld all of the spice flavors. 

Fill a glass 2/3 with the tea mixture and add ice and top with milk. I sweeten mine with liquid stevia or local honey.

Have some yummy tea for me! <3

The smell of fall – simmering potpourri

I love having a wood stove. I grew up with them at my parent’s house as well. When Larry and I looked for a stove to have put into our home (Yes, our huge house only had “fake” heating  fireplaces – Propane burning ones and a chimney for a pellet stove.) We had to get something in that was more economical for our family size. And not letting us run through our propane every winter.

I love the fact that the woodstove that we got has 2 cooking burners on top. I keep a water kettle on there all of the time.  I even fixed some elderberry tea with that heated water this morning from off of the woodstove. That is a different story altogether.

We have already simmered soup on the coldest rainy day so far this season. Our season has not gotten cold during the day, however, when you are up at 3 am and the temperature outside is at freezing or so, a nice fireplace is well worth it especially when I have turned the heater OFF!!!

Since as far back as I can remember, I always try and simmer some potpourri on my stove or in a mini-crock. This season, I have an old pot that I have been putting goodies in on the wood stove on the other

burner.  This has worked out great and when I want to simmer something else, it is simple to jest set the potpourri pot to the side. 

Eucalyptus, lemongrass, and clove

This morning, I added cloves, dried lemongrass and dried eucalyptus. 

 

For each of the following recipes, I add about 4 cups of water in my stove pot or mini crockpot and then the plants/herbs/fruit. 

After 1 hour, the mixture is simmering down.

Better Breathing

  • 1/4 cup eucalyptus
  • 2T lemongrass
  • 2T whole cloves

 

Fall is HERE 

  • 1 orange (Peel and Fruit), sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cloves, whole 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Open your Mind

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Harvest Spice

  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Fresh and clean

  • 1 lemon, sliced (peel and fruit)
  • 1/2 cup of eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chai Tea Potpourri

  • 1T Vanilla extract
  • 1t  cinnamon
  • 1t cloves
  • 1t allspice,
  • 1/2 t black pepper,
  • 1/2 t ginger,
  • 1/2 t coriander seed,
  • 1t mace,
  • 1 star anise

If you want, you can throw in a few black tea bags and use this as a chai tea base too. Strain and mix with milk. 

Favorite Circus Cookie Recipe

One of my all-time favorite cookies is the Circus cookies. This is a recipe that we have been using for years. LOVE that the kids can help out (and since the littles are getting older, they can even do this one themselves) and make these as well.

I picked up the mini Noah’s Ark cookie cutter set (Here is the link on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2CHh9cH) that is the perfect size for these little cookies. 

Cookies

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp half and half,  or 6 Tbsp heavy cream, or 7 Tbsp of milk plus more as needed

Instructions

For the cookies:

  1. In a mixing bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar until well combined.
  3. Mix in egg, vanilla extract. With the mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Divide mixture into 2 equal portions.
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill 1 1/2 hours, or until firm. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350. 
  6. Dust a clean work surface with flour then roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into mini animal shapes, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about 3/4-inch between cookies. Bake in preheated oven about 7 – 11 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool several minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. For the icing: In a medium mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla and enough half and half or cream to reach a medium consistency (not runny, not thick). Spread over cookies and immediately sprinkle with sprinkles after frosting each one. We dunk cookies into bowl and remove with fork, and let rest on a cookie drying rack until glaze has set.

Discovering Education – Field Trip to Jerome, Arizona

Watch us this week as we Discover Education in Jerome, Arizona and find something special on the dirt back road that we took. 

Discovering Education – Visiting Jerome, Arizona and traveling the back roads, Verde Valley, Jerome Historical Museum, Haunted Hamburger

 

www.DiscoveringEducation.us

 

KrisAndLarry.com, homeschooling, homeschoolers, krisandlarry

 

Be sure to like and follow our YouTube channel and visit our website, www.krisandlarry.com

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (or Solar Oven)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Beef Stew Meat or Ground Beef
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • Ground Black Pepper and Salt to taste
  • 4 cup Beef Broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce (I substituted Teriyaki sauce the last time that I made it because I was out of Worcestershire)
  • 1 whole Onion, Sliced (I tend to only have red onions here, but any will work)
  • 4 cloves of Pressed Garlic
  • 16 ounces Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 2 cups Sour Cream
  • 1 handful Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Serve over Egg Noodles, Mashed Potatoes Or Rice 

INSTRUCTIONS: (This recipe works well in your solar oven as well)

  1. Place meat into the crockpot and cook until browned. You can cook this in a pan and add to the crockpot or if you have a ninja 4 in one cooker, you can use the stovetop setting.
  2. Add Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir until well combined.
  3. Pour Beef Broth on top and 
  4. Add sprinkle flour, salt,  and black pepper. Stir until combined (Sprinkle to prevent clumping) 
  5. Cover crock pot with lid and set to cook on Hi for 6 hours or Low for 8-10 hours. 
  6. Once done turn crock pot off and allow to cool for 20 minutes or until no longer simmering 
  7. Stir in sour cream
  8. Serve Beef Stroganoff over noodles, mashed potatoes or rice. Sprinkle with parsley

Cricut Explore Air 2 – Game Changer for our homeschool and other projects

I have always been a crafter, but most of that has gone the wayside with 7 kids in the house and working, homesteading, etc. And not wanting to scrapbook and see all of the memories of Breckin. That was way too hard in the beginning of the grieving process. Pictures are coming out, Albums are being put together and memories are being made. 

In my “past life” I taught scrapbooking classes for several different companies (when Griffen was a baby – so about 16 years ago). One flew me around the country several times a month for over a year to teach other consultants how to run their classes.

I have 40+ cricut cartridges and several machines in the top of the closet in the hall.  But, dragging them out of the hall closet, finding the right cartridge, the process was long and crazy. And it took over what ever table that I set it up on.



I needed to revisit my creative outlet and get going again. 

So this new Cricut is a game changer!!! I picked it up on Amazon (Link below) for about $300. Yes, I know….$$$

But since it’s arrival, I have made props for my classroom, the kids started their lapbook projects on the states for our homeschooling, I have our vacation t-shirts designed. I even loaded the VIPKid logo in and cut a few IRON-ON for my orange t-shirts!!! I have so many ideas for home designs and there are even some simplicity patterns that you can purchace and be able to cut with this. I have it on my printer shelf next to my laser printer. 

And the best part is that the design process is online. I can start a design, and then save and revisit it later. I don’t lose anything and since time to do “crafty” things in my house is limited, I am able to come back to projects and cut them out when I have time. 

 

PHONE APP!!!!!

AND There is a PHONE APP! So when I am sitting in the car, waiting for one of the kids in their many activities, I can design something and then cut it when I get home!!! 

 

You can use it with your current cricut cartridges AND/OR pay a monthly subscription plan (if you plan on using it) and get 50,000 graphics to be able to cut. You can also purchase PRE-DESIGNED PROJECTS! 

(YES, It cuts Vinyl, magnet, cardstock, leather, fabric, felt, paper, burlap, birch, denim. There is even a slot for pens to draw some of the parts of your projects – I haven’t even tried that one yet.) Here is a link to all of the materials that you can cut with it: https://help.cricut.com/help/cricut-explore-materials-settings

I am thinking wooden signs with vinyl cutouts for the kids’ animals for the fair next year!!!

 

Oh, WHY did I not do this sooner!?!? So here is the link, my friends!!! GAME CHANGER for your crafting needs!!!






Ringing in the New Year! Welcome to 2017!

img_20161231_200213Welcoming in the new year at our homestead is a fun event. We are not really “party animals” and do normally spend New Year’s Eve with our kids at home.  We play games the entire day and eat homemade finger foods (like homemade egg rolls, meatballs, chips and dips, etc).

This year, we had new games added to our collection including Steampunk Munchkins, Timeline – American History, The Ticket to Ride expansion for 1910 and Oregon Trail. (Yes, I know! Not the standard games that everyone else had in their collections – But we are a gaming kind of family and have all of those standard Sorry and Monopolies too!)

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So for hours and hours, we spend time as a family…. What have I learned while playing games with my kids? I have learned that I don’t like playing against Griffen in Munchkin… He is RUTHLESS! Trystan still does not play well with others and cheats his way through every game that he plays. Larry remembers all of the rules to all of the games that we play…. He is filled with folders of useless knowledge too.  I know that Rowan and Elwyn are very competitive, but will help you out on teaming up on games.  I know that Shelby LOVES to just sit and play any game, anytime with anyone.  Berlyn does not always play well with others. Breckin is a good sport and will not only play games with his sisters, but will dress up for one of the princess games with them.

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Upon the ringing in of the New Year, we make it outside to bang pots and pans and yell Happy New Year…. then come in and drink “kid champagne” AKA  Sparkling Apple Cider. 

This morning, we woke up to 2 new baby goats on our homestead! Declan (one of our registered Purebred Nubians) and Ava (a Registered American Nubian) had 2 baby girls…. We are thrilled to have already added to our homestead this early in the season…. 

So, from our family to yours!

Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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Gluten Free Lemon Zucchini Bread

IMG_20150908_140829489Ingredients

  • 1 TB Tapioca Starch or Corn Starchglutenfreelemonzucchinibread
  • 1 TB Xanthan Gum
  • 1 cup Brown or White Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • Juice of one lemon (zest first)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup grated zucchini

Directions

  1. Mix flours, starch, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Then add oil and sugar until well blended. Add lemon juice, buttermilk, lemon zest to this mixture and blend all together.
  3. Fold in zucchini until it is mixed well.
  4. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend all together until well combined.
  5. Pour batter into greased 9×5 loaf pan.
  6. Bake at 375 for 60 minutes or until bread is cooked through.

Pool Noodle "Stick" Horses – Summertime activities

I love Dollar Stores!! I found $1 pool noodles… I don’t have a pool… What am I going to do with them?

I am going to make pool noodle HORSES!

My little LONE RANGERS need these!!! These were so easy to make.


We ended up making 15 of them for our house (and for the motorhome to take with us camping!!)

krisandlarry-poolnoodle ponies

 

 

These are so simple to create! Here’s what you need!!

  • pool noodle
  • large, thick rubber band
  • twine or ribbon
  • felt  – cut to create hair. (fold the piece in half long ways and cut strips towards the folded section but not all the way through to make fringe)
  • sharpie marker
  • low temperature hot glue gun or gorilla glue – school glue didn’t hold well. (The high temperature WILL melt the noodle!)

Directions:

  1. Fold the noodle about 12 inches from the end and place the large rubber band around both pieces (see, it needs to be a large this one!).
  2. Tie the ribbon on the horse around the “nose” and the body and make a rein.
  3. Glue the Felt Hair on the pony and draw a face with the marker…

krisandlarry-poolnoodle ponies2

Natural Dye Easter Eggs!


EasterEggDye
I LOVE finding interesting articles online. THANKS AUNT DONNA for sending this to me! This article was on What’s cooking America. Every year we use different items like the follow list to dye our eggs. Looking forward to the weekend to do it again. 🙂

As most of you know, Elwyn is Anaphylaxis to Red Dye – Easter when she was about 15 months old, I fed her jelly beans and she has a reaction that sent us to the hospital when her heart having to be restarted among other terrible things because of the dyes that I fed her. We have converted the entire house to dye-free and it helps my 3 amigos as well (Autism and PTSD & ADHD can also be effected by dyes and processed foods as well). 

 

How to make natural egg dyes:

  • Wash hard-cooked (boiled) eggs in warm soapy water to remove any oily residue that may impede the color from adhering to the eggs. Let eggs cool before attempting to dye.
  • You need to use your own judgment about exactly how much of each dye stuff to use. Except for spices, place a handful (or two or three handfuls) of a dyestuff in a saucepan.
  • Add tap water to come at least one inch above the dye stuff. NOTE: This will be aboEasterEggDye2ut 1 cup of water for each handful of dyestuff.
  • Bring the water just to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Let simmer about 15 minutes or up to an hour until you like the color obtained. Keep in mind that dyed eggs will not get as dark as the color in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour mixture into a liquid measuring cup. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of white vinegar for each cup of strained dye liquid. Pour the mixture into a bowl or jar that is deep enough to completely cover the eggs you want to dye.
  • Use a slotted spoon to lower the eggs into the hot liquid. Leave the eggs in the water until you like the color. NOTE: Allow the egg to sit in the tea for several hours or overnight. The longer the egg soaks, the deeper the final color will be. If you plan to eat the eggs be sure to do this step in the refrigerator.
  • When eggs are dyed to the color you desire, lift the eggs out with the slotted spoon. Let them dry on a rack or drainer.NOTE: An egg carton works nicely as a drying rack. Be careful to handle the eggs gently and minimally as some of the colors can easily be rubbed off before the egg has dried.
  • For a textured look, dab the still wet egg with a sponge.
  • Eggs colored with natural dyes have a dull finish and are not glossy. After they are dry, you can rub the eggs with cooking oil or mineral oil to give them a soft sheen.
Color
Items To Dye With
Blue
Canned Blueberries
Red Cabbage Leaves (boiled)
Purple Grape Juice
Brown or Beige
Strong Coffee
Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells (boiled)
Black Tea
Brown Gold
Dill Seeds
Brown Orange
Chili Powder

Gold
Turmeric
Green
Spinach Leaves (boiled)
Liquid Chlorophyll
Greenish Yellow
Yellow Delicious Apple Peels (boiled)
Grey
Purple or red grape juice or beet juice
Lavender
Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice
Red Zinger Tea
Orange
Yellow Onion Skins (boiled)
Carrots
Paprika
Pink
Beets
Cranberries or Juice
Raspberries
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets
Red
Pomegranate juice
Canned Cherries (with syrup)
Raspberries
Cranberries
Lots of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Violet or Purple
Violet Blossoms
Hibiscus tea
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins (boiled)
Red Wine
Yellow
Orange or Lemon Peels (boiled)
Carrot Tops (boiled)
Chamomile Tea
Celery Seed (boiled)
Green tea
Ground Cumin (boiled)
Ground Turmeric (boiled) or Saffr

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