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Friday, June 28, 2013

Yum Yum Yogurt Game

I feel terrible because I've promised my video story time and haven't been able to upload it to my blog for some reason!!!!  Stinky!!  But, I WAS able to upload one of my favorite vocal play games for you and your child to enjoy together until I figure out the other video snafu!

Yum Yum Yogurt is such a fun game!  The idea is that you set a steady beat, and say "Yum yum ______ fill in the blank with a food, and than your partner echos.  In this video, my daughter Natalie is leading the game, but we love taking turns!  I encourage you to play this engaging, language- learning game with your kids or students!!

Have fun!!!!
Anna and Natalie

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gluten Free Bread- Tuesday's Real Food Recipe!

This year, my family has decided to trim the gluten from our real food lifestyle.  I know, I trendy of us, right?  But let me tell you, my kids MISS bread.  Their previous school lunches included a yummy sandwich which used my soaked homemade bread and they were wondering where it went!  I came up with some awesome alternatives, like the affectionately named "smoosh balls" (Recipe coming next week) but it's nice to have the variety of a sandwich now and again, no? 

The first time I attempted Gluten Free bread, I simply substituted freshly milled rice for the exact same bread recipe.  Any reader who has done GF baking is currently shaking their head and giggling at me.  Yes, it was a disaster, and unless you want to rub your tongue off with a napkin followed by several chasers of water, I don't recommend it.  I brought out my old softball arm and the entire loaf was chucked full force into the trash can.

Instead, gluten free bread requires xanthan gum, a natural thickener.  It also has a much thinner dough, which could throw the baker off if you're not used to it.  Here is my recipe for Gluten Free bread.

My bread straight out of the oven.  You may experience a little "sink" when it begins to cool.  This is pretty normal for GF bread.

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
2 TBSP. honey
3 TBSP. olive oil (EVOO) or coconut oil
2 tsp. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
2 eggs
4 TBSP. water

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup tapioca flour
2 cups all purpose GF flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. xanthan gum
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Mix eggs and 4 TBSP. of water until slightly frothy.  Mix all ingredients in your standing mixer (the dough hook is less imperative with GF bread...I used it, but you could use any of the attachments), and slowly add dry ingredients until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides, and then mix on high for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice. 

Meanwhile, grease your loaf pan.  Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan (the dough will be a little thicker than cake batter) and let it proof for 20 minutes.  Another huge difference from traditional bread making.  You don't proof as long or punch down the dough and do a second rise.  Place your dough in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Turn the pan in the oven the last 10 or 15 minutes for even browning. 

Leave the bread in the pan for a good 5-10 minutes to avoid the bread "falling."  Roll out onto a cooling rack, and do your best to let it cool before slicing.  Slice and store in the freezer.  Bring to room temp before eating! :)

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and let me know if you have questions!

Happy Baking,

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Way We Are is NO Mistake

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why am I the way that I am?"  I have.  Too many times to count.  Growing up I would always ask myself, "Why am I so loud, flippant and obnoxious?  I don't want to be!  It was lots of fun most of the time and I know I brought love and care to many people, but there were also many times of regret in things that I said and did.  I thought I wanted to be quieter.  Smaller.  Figuratively and literally.  I had a mentor tell me that my personality wasn't from God, and that I really should be somebody else.  He suggested my personality was actually crappy, annoying, and wrong.  ouch.  Did God make a mistake when He created me?

Me after completing a labyrinth walk
Before it hurt to realize the flaws inside me, but using them as a reminder to allow the beauty of my personality to be refined- to listen more, think first- has been a great tool for improving my life, not changing my center. 

My center. 

I love this.  I can't take credit- it comes from my daughter Natalie's current favorite movie, Rise of the Guardians.  I love it too, and it truly reflects my own journey to finding my center, who I am, why I'm here, and how God can use me- my personality- as I allow Him to refine me.

I know He didn't make a mistake even though I have made thousands.  "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your book." Psalm 139:16.  He also told me, "I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth.  Even when you are old, I will be the same.  Even when your hair is gray, I will take care of you.  I made you and I will take care of you." Isaiah 46:3-4.

YES!  I knew it!  Be refined, always, but always trust that God created you for a special purpose with a true uniqueness that is special in this world.

Your thought for today,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Delightful Juvenile Fantasy story, "Nimpentoad"

"A children's fantasy book telling the tale of the courageous and resourceful little Nimpentoad, who leads his tribe of Niblings through the perilous Grunwald Forest, overcoming obstacles and encountering strange creatures along the way. Kids aged 5-10 enjoy the adventure and stunning illustrations. Parents appreciate a story that discourages bullying, and emphasizes teamwork, creativity, perseverance, and leadership."

I was excited to read Nimpentoad because this delightful fantasy is written by a dad, Henry Herz, and his two elementary-aged sons, Josh and Harrison!  It is so exciting to see a hobby and creativity come together and make something for the world to see and enjoy.  As I read Nimpentoad I couldn't help but fall in love with this little Nibling, saving the day, exemplifying courage, care and leadership against everything they came across.  He is a positive example for children, as well as introducing them to the fun, imaginative world of fantasy stories. 
I recommend this as a special story for elementary-aged kids to add to their library!  Find it on Amazon here!  Let me know what you think as you support these young, creative authors!!!
Happy Reading,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hello blogosphere!  I am still here!  See, after my last post, I was put on bed rest, which meant I wasn't hanging around my computer, and blogging from an iPhone...yeah, not so much.  And then, 9 short days later.... this happened...

Here is my new beauty, Elizabeth (Elli) Grace Everhart!  She is the sweetest baby, and my older two are enamored with her sleepy charm.  So, it's not that I'm ignoring you or anything, but I'm easily distracted by cuteness like this, so I've been too busy snuggling to be typing much. :)  I am excited to post a book review of an early-mid elementary book called "Nimpentoad" hopefully today...unless I get too caught up in poopy diapers!!!  Here's to another beautiful, wonderful creation who will one day change the world with love and kindness!  Miss Elli, we love you soooo much!!!  oh...and there she is crying....