Quick n' Dirty Peanut Lime sauce, aka "Kung Foo Chicken"

I have long since lost track of the food blog where I initially found this recipe, or at least a version thereof. We've been using it off and on for at least 8 or 10 years, and I think it's worth sharing.
My husband likes to call it "Kung Foo Chicken" for some reason, but it's really just a basic peanut lime sauce with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen that takes Very little fuss to get right.

Peanut Lime Sauce
(Serves about 6)
1 C peanut butter (natural is best, may be smooth or crunchy.)
1/2 C lime juice
1/2 C water
1 heaping Tbsp of minced garlic, or to taste
1 T of soy sauce, or to taste
1 t of sriracha or Tabasco sauce, or to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.
Hint: if you  place the lime juice and water in a 2 C Pyrex measuring cup, it's pretty easy to measure the peanut butter into the same container: just watch for the liquid to hit the 2 C line.

Serve over about 1 lb of spaghetti noodles, or ~4 packages of ramen (discarding the…

Parables for Pre-Schoolers: Using Story to Sooth and Teach

"Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the (not so) innocent..." 

It happens with depressing regularity. Everything is going along smoothly. Maybe not perfect, but OK. They're dressed, they're clean(ish), they're about to be fed, and - BAM - you're dealing with a tantrum. Maybe she wanted nuggets instead of PB&J.  Maybe she didn't want to wait in the other room until you were done working with an older sibling for school. Maybe she didn't want to wear the pants you picked out. Maybe it's the classic "my plate is the wrong color" melt-down. You try to calm her down, to offer compromises without caving into her terrorism, but it's not working. The emotions are out of control, and there's nothing to do but plop her in her room with the door shut until she works through it.

The tricky part for me is what to do next. After I've got my own calm back and it'…

Quick n' Dirty Coffee Filter Flowers

Hello, all. It's time for a new quick n' dirty tutorial: Coffee Filter Flowers!

These are a great bang for your buck. Super cheap, really easy, nearly fool-proof, and suitable for displaying in actual grown-up inhabited rooms.

Here's what you need:

* Basket style coffee filters (3 per flower)
* Pipe cleaners, green or brown
* Pencil
* Scissors

And here's how it's done

1) Flatten your stack of coffee filters. Then fold in half, half again, and once more so that your circle is divided into eights.

2) Place your filters on the table with the point down. With a pencil, draw an arc from one corner, down to the center of the paper, and then arc back up to the opposite corner. Don't obsess over this: "good enough" is very nearly as good as "perfect." Also, after you have made a few flowers, you may not find it necessary to draw this guideline any more!

3) Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut along your line, making sure to keep just under it so that…

Diva Challenge 304: Waybop - and Shrinky Dinks!

I was glad to see Waybop featured in this week's Diva Challenge. I was immediately drawn to this tangle when I first saw it a couple of weeks ago. You get a lot of bang for your buck, with a surprisingly simple set of steps yielding a complicated, cool-looking image.
The one thing I haven't figured out is how to make it play nicely with other tangles. I've tried a few auras, or gems in the middle of the shapes, etc, but I'm not finding it easy or instinctive on how to flow it together with other patterns. (Unlike most of you other Diva Challenge participants, I see! I am getting lots of fun ideas!)

That in mind I decided not to even try today. Instead, as I also needed to occupy my girls, I pulled out my little stock of hoarded #6 plastic takeout containers and made Shrinky Dinks!
I let Waybop play all alone on mine, with just a few jewel and seed shapes to fill in the empty space.

 Before shrinking. Image is 2 - 2.5 inches in diameter.
After shrinking. Colors are dark…

A Typlical Homeschool Day

I Just wrote a "week in the life" post a few days back, but I didn't really go into detail on how school itself has been working lately. Yesterday one of the mothers at dance class asked me how long I usually spend on school each day and my off-the-cuff answer was 90 minutes. I think that may be underestimating things a bit, actually, so I'm going to give a try at documenting what we actually do on our "normal" days.

School starts promptly at 9 am. In my dream world, that is. :)
Maybe I should start back a little earlier.
The alarm goes off at 7:45. I usually make it downstairs a couple of minutes after 8 where I quickly make a sandwich for David to take to work when he leaves at 8:15. The kids have usually already begun serving themselves breakfast by that time, but somehow actually eating seems to linger past 8:30 if not longer.  I serve myself something which I eat while simultaneously doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen (I work better in the morning, …

One of those Weeks (in the Life)

James has "The Empire Strikes Back" on the TV. Grace is watching "Masha" on the other laptop. David has Lucy at Costco. And I am completely amped up on the caffeine from my "decaf" McDonald's coffee. Probably can't sit still long enough to craft anything, so I'm going to give a try to a "week in the life" post.

Sunday 1/29:
Lucy has a bit of a cough, which fills me with dread regarding the rest of the week / month. But she doesn't seem to feel too yucky, so we ignore it for now. (Isn't it fascinating, though, that the more a toddler is likely to cough or sneeze, the closer to the food table she seems to stand?!) I have snacks to bring to church (Costco muffins, mmm!) , as well as my standard duties on the laptop.
We hang around a little longer than usual after church, but the girls especially still don't want to leave. Eventually we get them into the car and head home where I grab an extended nap. A smaller crew joins us …

Diva Challenge 301: Duo-tangle

It's been many, many months since I last participated in a Diva challenge, but this evening I had some free-ish time since my husband had the two older kids at Taekwondo. So I gave the 3-year-old some pens and grabbed one of my own.
This week's challenge was to duo-tangle Paradox and Diva Dance. I've always had a little trouble with the latter, but tonight it flowed better than usual. I also feel like it's a pretty good match with Paradox - which I do like, especially when rounded.
Anyway, here it is. And hopefully I'll have more opportunities to play along this year.

Update I had even More free time later, so I pulled out the new, massive set of colored pencils my husband got me for Christmas. I didn't even try to limit my palate - just went full rainbow. :)