Thursday, January 29, 2015

What a difference a fence makes!

We have lived here for 28 days and those 28 days have been, of course, quite challenging.  The worst part of this first month was that we did not have a fence.  Molly is used to having a fence and standing by the back door when she needs to go out. It is very easy to have a dog who knows when she needs to go outside.  But without a fence, that meant that Molly wanted to walk around, explore her neighborhood, and demanded to do this many times a day.  She also occasionally needed to go out at 5 am or midnight too.  This would not even be that terrible if the ground was not covered in ice and snow and the temperature was in the teens.
Lions Fence to our rescue! If you need a fence, give Richard a call.  You will thank me later.  His team built our fence in 7 hours. I thought it would take weeks. HA! 9am they started and they were done before 4 pm.  Plus, it was 15 degrees when they started in the morning. If it were warmer, I am sure it would have been done even quicker.
Here is a quick video of Molly's first run through the yard with no leash.  Such a happy girl.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Chia Muffins

One of the first things we unpacked and got fairly organized was the kitchen.  We needed to eat and cook and of course make muffins right away.
These muffins are very healthy and super delicious.  The kids ate them all before the day was over.  We are making them again this morning, they are that good.
The key to a good muffin is good ingredients. The best ingredients I have found in my many years of baking are those from Bob's Red Mill. I used their new 100% stone ground whole wheat pastry flour in these muffins. I have never met a product from Bob's red Mill that was not delicious. We use a whole bag of steel cut oats and farro every week, sometimes in 3 or 4 days.  If you have never tried a Bob's Red Mill product, do yourself a favor and get some!


Hope you enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Chia Muffins
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes
Makes 12

1 cup Bobs Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/2-3/4 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TB chia seed combined with 1/2 cup water
6 oz of your favorite yogurt (I used fat free greek plain)
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 TB coconut oil
1/2-3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your muffin pan or use papers. I like to use the silicone reusable muffin cups.  Combine the water and chia seeds in a small bowl. Let them rest so they will turn into a gel, takes about 15 minutes or so.
Add all the dry ingredients into a big bowl. Mix lightly.
Add all the wet ingredients into a bowl.  Stir in the chia gel. Combine all the ingredients together and gently mix together.  Stir in chocolate chips gently. 
Bake and enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Moving

The past two weeks are a blur.
Boxes
Huge Trucks
Cannot find what I need
Where is ______
Muscles hurting, yearning for sleep
Where do I begin??? Boxes calling from every room. Pick me! No, me. Start here.
So overwhelming!!
We moved to a new house and to say it has not been easy is really an understatement.
Moving sucks, no way around that.
But the number of things that went wrong are pretty unbelieveable.
Hopefully things will calm down soon. If not, we will continue to roll with the punches and we know the light is at the end of the tunnel, it just feels like a really looooooong tunnel right now

Here is a quick summary:
*Settlement was pushed 10 days later than we wanted it. Then it was scheduled, but a problem came up with the title, and it was pushed an additional three days.
*We wanted to be all moved in and settled before school began after winter break. Our beds and sheets were brought on a moving truck at 9:30pm on the Sunday night before school started on Monday. Close enough??
*Since our settlement was pushed, the moving company we had planned on using could not accomodate us.  So we took a recommendation from friends and the new company brought a small truck and could only fit in 1/4 of our furniture on moving day. Yay! Then a week later they brought two small trucks, got everything in, and we ended up paying 3 times more than we were quoted by our original moving company. Double YAY!
*School started Monday morning and since none of us slept well the first night in the new house, Diane burst into tears as she walked into her first grade class. What a way to make an entrance.
*Second night here, we wake up to wet carpet in the basement. The wet carpet that was 5 days old is now soaking wet.  The humdifier was leaking, well not really leaking, POURING water out of it.  Dan quickly unplugged it and fixed it, but not before it ruined most of the carpet.  Fun times!
*While washing the towels from the basement flooding, the washer stops working.  A pipe burst outside and that was the end of that appliance for that day.
*Ever seen a dishwasher without a place to put silverware? I have.  We quickly found creative ways to load the silverware. But seriously???
*What would be an awesome way to end a long day of moving? A hot shower, right? Well only one shower had any hot water.  The one in the basement.  Took a week to get all the showers going with hot water, but it was worth the wait.
*Since we were not on the school email list we had no idea that they did not follow the county for snow delays and we were late for school the third day.  But that does not seem so bad compared to the second day which included ice and snow and took us 2 hours and 35 minutes to get to school. A normal commute should take 10-15 minutes. The second day also included pushing the car up the street 8 times, and running down the highway in the storm.  Our street did not get plowed or sanded for 6 days.  But, on the bright side, a neighbor cleared our whole driveway while we were on our 2 plus hour drive to school. That was an awesome surprise!
*We are finishing our Homebound education with the MOCO teachers and then beginning to work with FCPS teachers. Let's hope that all begins on time and goes smoothly. 
*Alex has had a bloody nose and terrible headaches every single day since we moved in.  It has to get better from here right?
Are we having FUN YET?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Littlebits

My son Jake has always loved computers.  When he was two he would sit at my computer, open up the photo booth and take pictures of himself.  He then would open his gmail, attach a photo, and send it to his preschool teachers with the subject HI, the only word he knew how to type by himself.

Obviously Jake's skills have improved over the years.  Whoever has a computer or technology question immediately calls on Jake.  Jake's knowledge is enormous and he loves to learn new things each day.  Jake even gets phone calls for his tech help from far and wide.

Finding gifts for Jake is always a real challenge.  He does not want very many things.  A few years ago he got a Raspberry Pi.  This has nothing to do with a delicious dessert. It is a complicated engineering device that I could not possibly explain to you, simply because I do not understand how it works.

When I stumbled on Littlebits a few weeks ago I knew I had found an awesome gift for Jake.  As soon as it arrived in the mail, Jake tore it open and completed every single project in an hour.  The pieces were open ended enough that Jake had many future projects in mind to make the kit last much longer.  During the Black Friday sale, Littlebits had a sale.  Jake chose a new kit so that he can create more cool inventions.

Today Jake wants to share with you his door alarm.  Jake designed it himself, using the pieces in the Deluxe Kit.  As soon as his cloudbit arrives, Jake will be making many new projects including a sound trigger that will email me when my laundry is done.  I can't wait!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Where am I?

My poor neglected blog. I have given you no attention in what feels like forever.  In reality it has been only 2 months.  The past 2 months have been crazy.  Joey has a HS diploma and is working in the culinary field.  He makes amazing food for us and he will be a famous chef one day, I am sure of that.  Alex and Noah are both still suffering from their POTS symptoms.  This video is a good summary of what their daily issues are:
Both Alex and Noah are in the IIS(Interim Instructional Services) program through Montgomery county.  It is the only way for them both to keep up with their school work.
Jake is in 5th grade and having a very good year so far and Diane is in 1st grade and having a fabulous time.
Tons of cooking going on. Our weekly soup is a mushroom, potato farro stew and it is amazing. 
Lots of craziness going on around here.  Will try to update more often.
I will leave you with our healthy Mac and Cheese recipe.

Sara's Mac and Cheese
Heat 1 and 1/2 cup milk in a pan.  In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup milk and 3T flour.  Add this mixture in to the milk and heat up after it is slowly boiling for about 5 minutes. Keep whisking it, until it gets a little bit thicker.  Take pan off the heat and stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup of ricotta cheese and a little salt.  You will now have a nice creamy, fairly healthy cheese sauce.  Stir in one box of your favorite cooked pasta.  Combine until all the noodles are nicely coated with cheese sauce.  Pour into a oven proof pan.  Sprinkle over the top a bit of salt, parmesan and cornflake crumbs.  Bake at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and brown a bit.
Enjoy!

Friday, September 5, 2014

School is back in session

Where did the summer go? Why do all the fun things go by so quickly, and then the things you dread take forever.
The kids are growing so quickly, and I honestly feel like I blinked 18 years ago and now I have 5 kids who are growing before my eyes.
Two weeks ago Jake started 5th grade.
It is such a relief that Jake has awesome teachers this year.  It has been a tough 5 years, but so far so good!
Diane started first grade this week.
One of the highlights of her new classroom, was her own desk!!  She was not quite as excited to hear that she would be starting the morning with classwork.

The first day the children were welcomed with Magic Playdough in a bag.  Food coloring was hidden inside the playdough and as they manipulated the dough, the color exploded.  It was a great way to start First Grade.

Today I was lucky enough to be invited for Snack and a Story.  Diane chose her favorite book and the kids enjoyed it very much. I wish a happy back to school to all of you!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Have you heard of Instacart?

Have you heard of the App called Instacart? It is hands down, the best app that I have downloaded in
 the past 5 years.  Not even joking!
 
Don't get mad at me though, this app does not work everywhere.  However, if you live in the DC Metro area you are in luck.  This app allows you to shop at 4 local stores:
Whole Foods
Costco
Harris Teeter
and Safeway.

Each area in which Instacart operates,  will have their own local stores for you to shop in.
This service is awesome, I can shop on my phone for groceries while sitting at a doctor's appointment, waiting in the carpool line, or getting my car serviced. The possibilities are endless.




hi
What sets the Instacart app from the rest? They will deliver your whole order to you (for a nominal fee) within 1-2 HOURS!  Yes, the ingredients you forgot for your dinner can be at your front door in minutes.  During the school year, this app will be a total lifesaver.  You can also sign up at their website www.instacart.com and shop instantly if you do not have a phone with apps.

Now that I shared how awesome this service is, you want a discount code, right?
How about $10 off your first order and FREE delivery?? Just click this link and I will hook you up!  http://inst.cr/t/bZMhoV  or go to their website and enter the code SLAFOUNTAIN1 and you will receive the same offer.

You will be thanking me during the next ice storm, rainy day, or busy afternoon as you order your dinner to be delivered.  I don't think I will ever run out of milk again.  Instacart to the rescue!