Bean Roasting

Raw

We’re a DIY family when it comes to most things.  Especially things of the food and drink variety.  Jeff has home brewed beer since 2000(ish) so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he set his sights on other projects, including coffee.

In a recent beer supply order, he added a pound of green coffee beans.  He did a bit of reading, some Facebooking with my brother (I love how country crazy seems to run in the family!!) and he was on his way.

Bean roasting

It was so easy, done before before work, using our air popper (retired after our WhirleyPop acquisition) and finished off in a cast iron skillet over a camp stove.

Freshly roasted beans

The final result was delicious with no bitterness.

First product, home roasted beans

Is it worth the effort?  I think so.  The price per pound is about the same and the satisfaction of finishing it off just so is priceless.   Besides, how many people can say they roast their own coffee?

 

Bean Roasting

Raw

We're a DIY family when it comes to most things.  Especially things of the food and drink variety.  Jeff has home brewed beer since 2000(ish) so it shouldn't be a surprise that he set his sights on other projects, including coffee. In a recent beer supply order, he added a pound of green coffee beans.  He did a bit of reading, some Facebooking with my brother (I love how country crazy seems to run in the family!!) and he was on his way.

Bean roasting

It was so easy, done before before work, using our air popper (retired after our WhirleyPop acquisition) and finished off in a cast iron skillet over a camp stove.

Freshly roasted beans

The final result was delicious with no bitterness.

First product, home roasted beans

Is it worth the effort?  I think so.  The price per pound is about the same and the satisfaction of finishing it off just so is priceless.   Besides, how many people can say they roast their own coffee?  

Dinner Conversation

IMG_9049

I spent a bit of time going through my Pinterest Boards this morning.  My goal was to see how much of my “pinning” actually turns to “doing.”

One of the ideas I came across (again) was a jar of dinner questions.  I love this!  Our three are old enough where we can have some definite conversation (though not all of these suggestions are appropriate for us, yet).  So, I printed off a bunch of the ideas as well as added my own.

IMG_9039

Here are a few of my spinoffs.  Of course, the sky’s the limit.

*  Tell me three things you remember about Ft. Collins.  San Antonio.

*  What’s the best thing about Daddy being in the military?  The worst?

*  Do you think recess is important?  Why?

* What is the hardest part of your life?

* Tell us about school.  What do you like?  Dislike?

* What do you like about our family?  What would you change?

* Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

What questions will you be asking tonight?

Dinner Conversation

IMG_9049

I spent a bit of time going through my Pinterest Boards this morning.  My goal was to see how much of my "pinning" actually turns to "doing." One of the ideas I came across (again) was a jar of dinner questions.  I love this!  Our three are old enough where we can have some definite conversation (though not all of these suggestions are appropriate for us, yet).  So, I printed off a bunch of the ideas as well as added my own.

IMG_9039

Here are a few of my spinoffs.  Of course, the sky's the limit. *  Tell me three things you remember about Ft. Collins.  San Antonio. *  What's the best thing about Daddy being in the military?  The worst? *  Do you think recess is important?  Why? * What is the hardest part of your life? * Tell us about school.  What do you like?  Dislike? * What do you like about our family?  What would you change? * Chocolate or vanilla ice cream? What questions will you be asking tonight?

Weekending

This weekend was spent…

Bringing a bit of Spring indoors thanks to my loves.

IMG_9023

Planting lettuce and herbs outside with tomato starts inside.

IMG_9025

Baking bread, granola, granola bars, and snacks for the week ahead.  Then enjoying a “silly” lunch of parfaits.

Starting (and finishing) my first knit in the round.

Listening to Blind Pilot (I went to high school with one of the band members, Kati) and The Head and the Heart.  I love that both of these groups of from the Northwest.

Cuddling and loving on one another.

Anticipating the arrival of our first visitors.  Only 9 days to go!!

It seemed like the first restful yet productive weekend in a long time.  Win all around.

Weekending

This weekend was spent…

Bringing a bit of Spring indoors thanks to my loves.

IMG_9023

Planting lettuce and herbs outside with tomato starts inside.

IMG_9025

Baking bread, granola, granola bars, and snacks for the week ahead.  Then enjoying a "silly" lunch of parfaits.

\Starting (and finishing) my first knit in the round. Listening to Blind Pilot (I went to high school with one of the band members, Kati) and The Head and the Heart.  I love that both of these groups of from the Northwest.

Cuddling and loving on one another. Anticipating the arrival of our first visitors.  Only 9 days to go!! It seemed like the first restful yet productive weekend in a long time.  Win all around.

A Little of This and a Little of That

Wednesday Morning

This morning didn’t get off to a very good start. Actually, it really is last night’s fault. I had a commitment right after dinner and Jeff left for one right after I got home. Amidst the craziness, the kitchen didn’t get completely clean, clothes weren’t laid out and I stayed up too late reading. Throw in a rough night with bad dreams and coughing kids, I decided to sleep in until just before the kids got up.

Not a good idea.

I relearn this lesson every few weeks (yep, call me a slow learner) get back on track and then decide after a few good mornings that I really don’t need that hour to wake up, read a little, empty the dishwasher, start lunches, etc. I’ve spent all morning trying to make up for those darn 30 minutes and it’s not happening.

Buds

I got to catch up with a dear friend yesterday. She shared some about her recent month long, extreme focus on whole foods. The results amazed me. It felt like another gentle reminder that I’m on the right path. We’re continuing to make additional improvements and changes in our own family as well. It feels good.

Soon

School has been a struggle for our three since we got here. There is a whole host of reasons for that but it has been heartbreaking for me as all three of them always loved school in the past. They are too young to not be excited to go see their teachers and classmates each day. We’re gearing up to make some changes next year. Rather than all three of them being at the American school on base, Connor will stay at his asilo one more year and Morgan and Jack will move to the Italian elementary school in our town. We’ve spoken with lots of different people, toured the school, met the teacher and are making plans to ease the transition. It will be hard. I have no doubt about that. But in the end, our hope is that it will be so worth it. This is after all, the experience of a lifetime.

right path

A Little of This and a Little of That

Wednesday Morning

This morning didn't get off to a very good start. Actually, it really is last night's fault. I had a commitment right after dinner and Jeff left for one right after I got home. Amidst the craziness, the kitchen didn't get completely clean, clothes weren't laid out and I stayed up too late reading. Throw in a rough night with bad dreams and coughing kids, I decided to sleep in until just before the kids got up. Not a good idea. I relearn this lesson every few weeks (yep, call me a slow learner) get back on track and then decide after a few good mornings that I really don't need that hour to wake up, read a little, empty the dishwasher, start lunches, etc. I've spent all morning trying to make up for those darn 30 minutes and it's not happening.

Buds

I got to catch up with a dear friend yesterday. She shared some about her recent month long, extreme focus on whole foods. The results amazed me. It felt like another gentle reminder that I'm on the right path. We're continuing to make additional improvements and changes in our own family as well. It feels good.

Soon

School has been a struggle for our three since we got here. There is a whole host of reasons for that but it has been heartbreaking for me as all three of them always loved school in the past. They are too young to not be excited to go see their teachers and classmates each day. We're gearing up to make some changes next year. Rather than all three of them being at the American school on base, Connor will stay at his asilo one more year and Morgan and Jack will move to the Italian elementary school in our town. We've spoken with lots of different people, toured the school, met the teacher and are making plans to ease the transition. It will be hard. I have no doubt about that. But in the end, our hope is that it will be so worth it. This is after all, the experience of a lifetime. right path

Family Dinner on Busy Nights

We are big believers in family dinners. Both Jeff and I grew up in families where gathering around the dinner table regularly was the rule rather than the exception. For us, it’s just what you do and we did so even before we had kids.

However, if you talk to other parents at school, soccer practice or work you’ll quickly learn that family dinner is not that common anymore. There’s a lot of information out about the benefits of family dinners, this article is one I stumbled on yesterday. It is full of great information and suggestions.

Yet it many ways, I know it isn’t that simple. American families live very busy lives. With both parents often working outside the home, nightly homework (often crazy amounts in my mind) and activities for the kids it is difficult to get everyone home at the same time.

Yes, we have chosen for me to be home full time for many reasons and I’m so thankful that has been possible for the last nearly nine years. It works for us. However, it can still difficult to ensure that we are regularly eating together. Part of this is due to Jeff’s crazy work schedule and part is due to afternoon and activities. Though we are very selective and deliberate about how many activities each of us is committed to. Yet, even if Jeff is working 15 hour days and gets home just before bed or while he was deployed, the kids and I sat at the table together most nights and ate. It wasn’t always gourmet but we connected.

That’s the key in all of this, that you are actually gathering at the table. The focus really isn’t on the food at all (as long as it’s mainly healthy, whole foods). There are tons of meal planning resources and suggestions for dinner. The struggle seems to come on the evenings when things are just a bit crazier than normal.

Here are some ideas to get you to the table even when there are three practices, scouts  and homework.

Use your crockpot. I’m a huge fan of the crockpot and use it year round. While most often used to slow cook meat, you can also do beans, soup, pasta and even cake in the slow cooker. Our house in Colorado didn’t have A/C so in the summer I used an outlet in the garage or on the deck.

Pasta. A simple marinara sauce can be made in the amount of time it takes to boil the water and cook the noodles. Saute some veggies or slice some fruit and you’re set.

Breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit. Ten minutes. Done.

Popcorn. Make a batch of popcorn (the good stuff, please), slice some cheese or a grab a handful of almonds and add apples.

Freeze ahead or join a meal exchange. There are several ways to do freezer meals. The easiest is likely doubling a recipe, serving half and putting half in the freezer. Then on those busy days, pull a pan of enchiladas out of the freezer to thaw in the morning and reheat quickly to serve. I wrote a bit about the meal exchange I was part of here.

Clean out the fridge. There is nothing wrong with leftovers.

Sandwiches. Quick and easy. Round it out with some veggies or fruit.

Really the options are endless.

One other idea that I’ve seen several families do is to pack a picnic. It seems that when multiple children are playing the same sport their practice may be at the same place on the same day but there is a 30 minute gap between. So, take any of the options above and pack dinner to go. This also works well on Saturday when one child has a game at ten and the other at one.

The important thing is to gather your family (sans phones and tv, of course) and settle in. You never know what might happen any given evening.

Obviously, this picture isn’t from a busy day.  Just a Monday.  But it’s what I had.  Besides,  every Monday needs some flowers and candlelight. Right?

Also, there have been seasons for our family (we’re actually headed in to one soon) where all five of us aren’t home for dinner.  Ever.  During these times, we try to shift our main meal to breakfast.  The important thing is that we gather.


Family Dinner on Busy Nights

We are big believers in family dinners. Both Jeff and I grew up in families where gathering around the dinner table regularly was the rule rather than the exception. For us, it's just what you do and we did so even before we had kids.

However, if you talk to other parents at school, soccer practice or work you'll quickly learn that family dinner is not that common anymore. There's a lot of information out about the benefits of family dinners, this article is one I stumbled on yesterday. It is full of great information and suggestions.

Yet it many ways, I know it isn't that simple. American families live very busy lives. With both parents often working outside the home, nightly homework (often crazy amounts in my mind) and activities for the kids it is difficult to get everyone home at the same time.

Yes, we have chosen for me to be home full time for many reasons and I'm so thankful that has been possible for the last nearly nine years. It works for us. However, it can still difficult to ensure that we are regularly eating together. Part of this is due to Jeff's crazy work schedule and part is due to afternoon and activities. Though we are very selective and deliberate about how many activities each of us is committed to. Yet, even if Jeff is working 15 hour days and gets home just before bed or while he was deployed, the kids and I sat at the table together most nights and ate. It wasn't always gourmet but we connected.

That's the key in all of this, that you are actually gathering at the table. The focus really isn't on the food at all (as long as it's mainly healthy, whole foods). There are tons of meal planning resources and suggestions for dinner. The struggle seems to come on the evenings when things are just a bit crazier than normal.

Here are some ideas to get you to the table even when there are three practices, scouts  and homework.

Use your crockpot. I'm a huge fan of the crockpot and use it year round. While most often used to slow cook meat, you can also do beans, soup, pasta and even cake in the slow cooker. Our house in Colorado didn't have A/C so in the summer I used an outlet in the garage or on the deck.

Pasta. A simple marinara sauce can be made in the amount of time it takes to boil the water and cook the noodles. Saute some veggies or slice some fruit and you're set.

Breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit. Ten minutes. Done.

Popcorn. Make a batch of popcorn (the good stuff, please), slice some cheese or a grab a handful of almonds and add apples.

Freeze ahead or join a meal exchange. There are several ways to do freezer meals. The easiest is likely doubling a recipe, serving half and putting half in the freezer. Then on those busy days, pull a pan of enchiladas out of the freezer to thaw in the morning and reheat quickly to serve. I wrote a bit about the meal exchange I was part of here.

Clean out the fridge. There is nothing wrong with leftovers.

Sandwiches. Quick and easy. Round it out with some veggies or fruit.

Really the options are endless.

One other idea that I've seen several families do is to pack a picnic. It seems that when multiple children are playing the same sport their practice may be at the same place on the same day but there is a 30 minute gap between. So, take any of the options above and pack dinner to go. This also works well on Saturday when one child has a game at ten and the other at one.

The important thing is to gather your family (sans phones and tv, of course) and settle in. You never know what might happen any given evening.

Obviously, this picture isn't from a busy day.  Just a Monday.  But it's what I had.  Besides,  every Monday needs some flowers and candlelight. Right?

Also, there have been seasons for our family (we're actually headed in to one soon) where all five of us aren't home for dinner.  Ever.  During these times, we try to shift our main meal to breakfast.  The important thing is that we gather.