Pandemic Brouhaha

    The Wordy Bit Oh, darlings, this one is allllll wordy bit. I might throw in a picture or two, but it's mostly me just touching base with you since I haven't posted in five months! Five months! Can you believe that? I find it hard to believe, but then again, with everything going on in the world....the days have blurred together. Like, bad. Oof, the holidays were a mish-mash of placating kids who wanted to travel and see family, distracting myself from the fact I didn't get to see family, trying desperately to carve out some "me" time, convincing the littlest one that it's okay to take a break from school, convincing the teen that it's necessary to continue school, cooking, baking, juggling new schedules and ways of life....see where I'm going with this? Our lives were hectic last year, and that's putting it mildly.  This year, we know more or less what to expect from the coming months. More of working from home and staying in; more eating in an

Sugar Free Spicy Pumpkin Pie

   All You Need: Pumpkin Filling 15 oz. pumpkin or squash puree (A single can of Libby's works for me) 12 fl. oz. Evaporated Milk 3 large eggs 3/4 cup Splenda (the loose cooking stuff in the large bag, not the packets) 1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 rounded teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 rounded teaspoon ground cloves A generous pinch of ground black pepper Pie Crust I rarely make my own. I use a pre-made store-bought favorite. But feel free to make your own. Make enough to line the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Do not blind bake it! Oven 9-inch pie plate 2 mixing bowls (a large one for the pumpkin and a small one for the spices) Mixing implements What You Do: Preheat oven to 425°. Line pie plate with pie shell. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix the Splenda, spices, and salt until well combined. This mix should be very fragrant. In a large bowl, crack and beat the eggs. Then, gentle stir in the pumpkin and spice mixture until well combined. Gradually add and gently sti

Ooey-Gooey Caramel Apple Pie

  All You Need: Apple Filling 4-6 medium apples (I use 5-6 Rome apples, because that's what we picked at the orchard) 1 Tablespoon lemon juice 1/4 cup white, granulated sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon cloves 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour Pie Crust I rarely make my own. I use a pre-made store-bought favorite. But feel free to make your own. Make enough to line the bottom of a deep dish 9 inch pie plate. Streusel Topping 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/3 cup butter, slightly softened Oven Deep dish 9-inch pie plate 2 mixing bowls (a large one for the apples and a medium one for the topping) Chef's knife and cutting board What You Do: First things first, preheat your oven to 425°. Core and slice the apples to about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. You can peel them, if you like. I don't. Partly because I'm lazy and partly because I think it helps them retain the

My How the Time Flew!

 The Wordy Bit I accidentally took over a month off! How did that happen?? Well, to be perfectly honest, I do know how it happened. Here at our house, it has been a summer full of gardening, cooking, baking, prepping, teen drama, and toddler drama. Not to mention, the Mr. is still working from home, and that can impact the daily flow. As such, the daily flow now looks nothing like it did this time last year. I also can't decide which I prefer: then or now. I truly enjoy having him around more, but our little is still having difficulty grasping the fact that Daddy needs to work. I'm hoping that starting preschool in a few weeks will keep her busy enough to even her out a bit.  That's right, I said preschool. I've been stocking up on supplies, and I even purchased a curriculum (The Homegrown Preschooler). I like the fact that it is all hands-on and craft-based. I even like that there are opportunities to include faith-based learning (I swapped their stuff out for my stuff

Washable Water Balloons

Materials: Bernat Blanket yarn  Size N/P hook (10.00mm) Tapestry needle (for weaving ends) Scissors Terms to Know: ch - chain st - stitch slst - slip stitch sc - single crochet dc - double crochet dc2tog - double crochet 2 together Pattern (written in US terms): Chain 3 Round 1: 8 DC in the third loop from the hook (Note: this is my "Magic Circle" shortcut); slst to join to the first st Round 2: Ch 2; 2 DC in each st all the way around; slst to join (16 total stitches in this round) Round 3: Ch 2; DC in each st all the way around; slst to join (16 sts total) Round 4:  Ch 2; DC in each st all the way around; slst to join (16 sts total) Round 5: Ch 2; DC2TOG all the way around; slst to join (8 sts total) Round 6: Ch 2; DC2TOG around; slst to join (4 sts total) Round 7: Ch 1; 2 SC in each st around; slst to join (8 sts total) Leave a long tail. Break the yarn and wrap the yarn several times around the "neck" of the balloon before tying off and weaving in the ends. (Thi

Family Garden Update

The Wordy Bit It seems there is no escaping the chaos of the world, no matter how sheltered we are privileged to be. It definitely takes a toll, and that's okay. I've slowed down my posting to allow more time for calmer things. Even nothing, to be honest. No noise; no electronics; I've taken to just sitting in the backyard, sipping on a cup of coffee, and basking in the natural world. Having grown up in the middle of nowhere, I find that immersing myself in nature really centers me. Having a garden has been helping a great deal, too. We're having difficulty getting decent veggies from out local grocer (but that could simply be due to whomever is gathering the groceries, since we're still socially distancing as much as possible). So the idea of fresh, beautiful ,herbs, fruits, and veggies is making us excited. I cut some fresh herbs for a recipe not long ago, and man oh man, were they fantastic (except the oregano; I cut it to experiment with drying it). Clockwise fr

Super Easy No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream

All You Need: 1 1/2 - 2 lbs strawberries, fresh or frozen (hulled and halved) 1-2 Tablespoons white, granulated sugar 2 cups heavy whipping cream 1 can (14 oz) Sweetened, Condensed Milk 1-2 teaspoons vanilla some sort of storage container, 7 cup capacity freezer food processor or blender a hand or stand mixer helps, too What You Do: First things first, we need to heighten the flavor of the strawberries while also removing the majority of the water from them. I do this in a two-step process:  I started by mixing my strawberries (I've used fresh and frozen) with sugar and placing them in the fridge to macerate. With fresh strawberries, this process can take 8-12 hours (or up to 24). With frozen strawberries, you're also wanting them to thaw, so it's best to give them a full 24 hours.  After they have sat in sugar for 24 hours, drain them as much as possible. But do not rinse them! And blend them in a food processor or with a blender. I have blended them