Saturday, March 21, 2015

Kat's vegan chocolate chip cookies

Kat loves to bake and she's in the kitchen all the time. At one point we even had a little cookie business she experimented with "Kathleen's Kitchen" today she's headed over to her friend's house for a 17th Birthday get together and even though the invite stated "no gifts" Kat didn't want to show up empty handed. So she decided to make cookies. Her friend is vegan. Normally when I bake I substitute flax seed for the egg but we didn't have any in the house. So we did a search on "vegan egg replacers" and found this list on vegan baking first on the list is flax seed but second is chick pea flour. Seriously. Chickpeas. And yes, we actually had some. On occasion Tim visits the Indian Grocer in Richmond and picks up all kinds of stuff, lentils for dahl, amazing rice, and apparently chick pea flour also called besan flour.

So Kat proceded to make chocolate chip cookies following the regular recipe and substituting coconut oil for butter and chickpea flour for eggs. (1/4 cup chickpea flour + 1/4 cup warm water = 1 egg) She noted that the batter was very moist and thought about adding more flour then decided to cook up 4 cookies and see what happened before she adjusted the recipe.

vegan chocolate chip cookie, vegan cookie, coconut oil, chickpea flour, egg substitute
looks like a chocolate chip cookie

tastes like a chocolate chip cookie... but like it has nuts in it. It does not have nuts in it.
Both taste testers said it tasted just a little bit "healthy" or "wholesome" but overall it was a good cookie.

vegan chocolate chip cookie, vegan cookie, coconut oil, chickpea flour, eggless
all ready for gifting

we found an old cookie tin in the pantry and she wrapped the lid in pretty paper and off she went to celebrate with her 17 year old, vegan, best friend.

Happy Birthday Anna!

It just occurred to me that it is Saturday. I have not participated in a Pink Saturday link up in sometime. I wonder if they are still happening? A quick look at "How Sweet the Sound" blog and yes, yes they are. So I'm joining the pink ladies today:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

automatic phone sync

There are several people in this house.
There are several phones in this house.
Phones with cameras.
And small children who love selfies.
And the phones automatically sync, and if you aren't paying attention, they dump the photos into Dropbox. Dropbox is owned by the company (as is my computer.) So today, looking for a photo for work, I noticed that my son's phone has flooded the Dropbox "photos" folder. There are some photos of his and he would most likely prefer the entire office not see them, but not really anything incriminating (aside from the regular embarrassment of a 14 yr old boys private world on display) but there are literally hundreds of selfies by the 5 yr old. And hundred of pictures of a corner, or a bed, or the floor or whatever...

Little Hawk wuz here

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Shenanigans at Great Grandma's

"Silly or High Spirited Behavior"

We have not checked in on Great Grandma recently and I've been feeling badly about that. So tonight we did. I called Rusy her caretaker around 5:30 and said we were finishing dinner and we'd be over within the hour if that suited her. It did. And we went.

It isn't easy to keep up a conversation these days, so we opted for a game of cards. "Go Fish" so that everybody could play. 8 year old Bitsy offered to be on Great Grandma's team.

Great Grandma & Bitsy
That pairing proved to be highly entertaining for the rest of us. Bitsy does know "Go Fish" however Great Grandma was playing her own game. Her winning hand:

Bitsy was in fits of giggles and we kept saying "go with it" so Great Grandma would tell Bitsy to pick up a card, and Bitsy would. Then she'd ask one of us for a 7 because she was still trying to make pairs. 

Little Hawk & Rusy
In Rusy we've been blessed with an additional family member. She remembers when MLyons (now 10) wasn't walking. She loves the children and is essentially an Auntie. The running around to activities keeps us from visiting as much as we should. Which is dumb really. 

this is Pumpkin.
Pumpkin the cat kept turning up under Great Grandma's porch having kittens. So finally Great Grandma's daughter, Grandma, got a hold of her and took her to the vet for shots. I think they spayed her too. She was initially just an outside visitor who would stop by for dinner but over the years she's become Great Grandma & Rusy's cat. 

emptying the kitchen of sweets

Great Grandma likes to make sure the kids have snacks and sweets. She usually has stock of Dove bars but with the weather they haven't been shopping. So Rusy pulled out everything they did have! Edy's Juice ice pops, Pepperidge farm cookies, left over Valentine's candy... I stepped out into the sitting room to speak to Great Grandma and Bitsy stole my phone to take pictures.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A snowy walk around Kingsmill

my son, Dragon out with the dogs
Somehow, while we were buried in snow, posting snow pictures became less enticing. But now that it has all thawed and Tidewater is back to its usual business remembering the snow is more fun.

snow, winterscape, canoes, kingsmill, virginia, winter
snow covered canoes in Kingsmill

wareham's pond, snow, frozen, bridge, kingsmill, virginia, winters cape

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

tracks in the snow

vintage, gnome, snow gnome, grandma's garden, winter garden
Snow Gnome 

That little guy sits in my front yard and keeps an eye on things. He used to sit in my grandmother's yard and keep an eye on things there. I remember moving him and his buddies around her garden when I would come visit.

The snow this morning is perfect for tracking. I took the dogs out for a walk and saw deer tracks and rabbit tracks and perhaps squirrel tracks? I don't know... but I'm open to suggestion.

rabbit tracks, snow, tracks in snow, Virginia, animals, east coast
rabbit tracks in my yard

deer tracks in snow, deer, Virginia, animals
deer tracks

what are these? are they squirrel tracks?

When I came in from my walk I took the 8 year old and the 10 year old out to show them the rabbit tracks. You could follow them, a clear line into the woods behind our house. And the girls did follow the tracks down into the woods for 15 or 20 minutes. Made me smile.

It has been some time since I joined the "Outdoor Wednesday" meme, but I am joining them today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Day Play-do

I was trying to find something to keep them (the kids) busy the other day - our area is not accustomed to snow and ice and so we are one of the many places that closes school when we receive an inch of snow. And then it stayed cold and the roads didn't melt off, so school was closed for the entire week last week. They went to school today - but it started snowing around 2:30 this afternoon and what do you know. No school...

Last week I asked the 10 year old to make play-do. There are two recipes floating around my house:

here is one (from Mother's Day Out at the Methodist Church in Williamsburg)
2 cups of flour
1 cup salt
1 package of koolaid
2 cups boiling water
4 tbsp vegetable oil

and another (from the COOP Cookbook 2001)
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp alum
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp vanilla or other extract
food coloring

M-Lyons followed the second recipe omitting the alum and made us lovely vanilla smelling green play-do

play-do recipe, home made play-do, pink gap sweater, recipe
home made play-do

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The ski cabin & busted pipes. Again.

I am tapping on my phone-not my most efficient form of communication- so bear with me.

A few weeks ago Tim was at Bryce mountain for a race, and I brought the two littles (and the dogs of course) to Wintergreen for ski practice. Well, Bitsy for practice with the D team and Little Hawk to ski with me. When I arrived the place was quite frozen. Ice in the toilets sort of thing. And there was a burst pipe in the bathroom adjacent to my bedroom. A waterfall in the basement resulted and my husband drove over to fix it.

This weekend I arrived with four children and the dogs. My husband and the two older kids are racing at Sugar Mountain. Again the house was very cold. The outside temperature had been low all week and despite the small heaters we have, the water in the bathrooms was frozen again. So I warmed up the house and around 10:30 PM when the house was registering 60 degrees-I turned the water on.

At 12:15 AM I woke up to the noise of gushing water:
the fixture in the bath tub had broken. I took a photo to help diagnose later, went downstairs and flipped the water off, went back to bed.
broken bath fixture at 12:15 AM

In the morning it occurred to me that when Tim had fixed the pipes before he had put in a valve behind the tub. Rather pleased with myself I turned the valves off, stationed the ten year old by the tub in case it didn't work and turned the water on. My 12 yr old son shouted "Mom! Turn it off!" Apparently he'd heard a loud noise and then water was gushing in his closet- that closet is going to need to be redone this summer!

It snowed a lot on Saturday. We had breakfast and were cleaning up to go home and I was frustrated - I haven't skied in weeks. So I asked them could we please ski a few runs first.
windy, snow, storm, blue ridge, wintergreen resort, Virginia
crazy windy at Wintergreen!

We drove to the parking lot around noon. The wind was terrible. We took one run. Everyone was miserable. I thanked them for trying and loaded my car back up and headed back up the hill to our house to get the dogs, unload skis, lock up and leave.

I should point out, my minivan does not have snow tires.

We got stuck in front of the parking lot. And were pushed up the hill. We made it passed the resort and started to climb towards the founders outlook and lost traction several times. I was actually crying when we pulled into the founders outlook parking lot. I was certain we wouldn't make it all the way up to our house so I sat there in the parking lot a few minutes and decided to hike to the house and get the dogs. I left the kids in the car (still blowing snow like mad and they are in ski boots). I started walking and someone stopped and gave me a ride. Got to the house, turned everything off, leashed the dogs and hiked back to the car. When I arrived back at the car it was obvious that the roads were worse. So I got the children out and we hiked back up to the house.

winter scene, hiking, snow, wind, whiteout, wintergreen, blue ridge mountains, Virginia
tough cookies, they hiked a mile in crazy wind
wearing ski boots

We got the fire back up and roaring and filled several pots with snow to be melted on the stove -for cooking water -dog drinking water -and toilet water. Luckily we did have some bottled water we drank ourselves.

fetching snow to melt for water!
well, little man now knows that if you
melt snow, you get water!
Today the weather is much warmer and there is no precipitation-in about to hike back down to the car and start the process of trying to clean up and close up the house.

I find that I'm very grateful to live with running water most of the time. And grateful to own a car that works most of the time. And mostly, very grateful that my children took this entire experience with a sense of adventure. No fussing, no whining, and making the most of it. I am very lucky.

***later, I was thinking about it as I drove home. When I was about 10 yrs old and we were living in Spain my dad created the family "Adventurers Club." He had the idea that he'd make patches and everything. And we would keep track of different things; I don't remember really now. I think it was along the lines of how many countries we visited, or languages we learned or something.
He would have been proud of his grandkids this weekend. They were real troupers.

I'm joining the Outdoor Wednesday Link up