March-April Homeschool Swap with Wani's World

Thanks to the swap hosted by The Homeschool Post (HSBA Post) for homeschooling families, we have made a new friend!

We were paired with Wani who blogs at Wani's World. Wani is a hard-working, homeschooling mother of three from Indiana. I am really enjoying getting to know her.

Check out the fantastic package she sent us from Indiana!

Wani made the cute headbands herself! Cyber Princess has already claimed them.

(I didn't put the headband in her hair that way. She styled her own hair and was pretty proud of herself!)

Wani sells all kinds of gorgeous headbands in her Wani's World Etsy store. (Disclosure: I am not receiving anything for sharing Wani's Etsy Store with you. I just think that she is talented and I love her cute headbands!)

15 Fabulous Thanksgiving & Fall Ideas

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, but there is still time to fit in some fall fun. Here are 15 of my favorite ideas from around the web.

1. Gobble, Gobble Turkey Cups - I am making these tonight for my daughter to take to preschool tomorrow to share for snack-time!

Source: via Rachelle on Pinterest

2. LiliBug Fall Turkey 3-in-1 Woven Headband and HairBow Set -
What a fun way for little girls to "dress up" for Thanksgiving dinner!

3. Turkey Veggie Platter - Bringing the veggie tray this year? Here's one way to kick it up a notch!

4. L is for Leaf - Don't let those autumn leaves go to waste! Make a simple Letter L with your favorite preschooler.

5. Acorn Necklaces - A fun project to keep the kids entertained while Thanksgiving dinner is cooking.

6.Marbled Shaving Cream Autumn Leaves - These look like so much fun to make!

7. The Thankful Tree - A stunning way to highlight your family's expressions of gratitude.

8. Leaf Mobile - Make your favorite leaves last forever. Wouldn't these leaves be amazing on The Thankful Tree?

9. Cinnamon Caramel Apple “Pumpkins” - These super yummy treats might just make you everyone's favorite relative!

10. Foliage Friends - Pass out the leaves, glue, paper, and pens and let everyone get their creative doodle on. 

11. Owl Paper Bag Puppets - You can make these puppets as shown, or you could change them into turkeys.

12. Turkey HatPreschoolers will think they are super stylin' but teens will think you've invented a new torture device.

13. No-Mess Fingerpainted Fall Leaves - My favorite part is the "no-mess". Great kid fun without the clean up.

14. Orange-Cranberry Dream - One of the best Thanksgiving Salads. Ever. Make it you'll love it.

15. Oreo Turkeys - Cute and delicious!

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!  Please enjoy this message of faith and thanksgiving.

Fall Wreath and Favorite Fall Crafts

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, there is a limited amount of time left to get your fall on! I loved this fall wreath so much that I just knew I needed to make my own. So I pinned it onto my Fall & Thanksgiving Board on Pinterest.

Thankfully Melissa at 320 Sycamore explained how she made this simple, gorgeous wreath, so I was able to make my own!

Granted Melissa's is perfection, but I'm quite content with mine! It is leaps and bounds better than my old autumn wreath (which was a grapevine wreath with leaves and ribbon haphazardly wrapped around it). 

Check out some of my family's favorite fall crafts from last year's Holiday Challenge!

Linking up to:

Geek Chic: Binary Doormat Knock-off

Wowsers! I have been so excited to share my knock-off binary doormat with you! About a month ago, Digital Man gently pointed out that we really needed a new doormat for our front door. Our old doormat was torn, dirty, and generally gross.  So the search for a new doormat began. 

It might seem silly to be picky about a doormat, but your front door is a major part of the curb appeal that gives visitors a first impression of your home and family. One of the biggest problems that I had is that most of the doormats that I really liked were $40+. That is way more than I want to spend on something that gets dirty shoes wiped all over it. I'm cheap that way, but let's call it frugality.

I really liked the look of coir mats, but I was looking for something kind of fun and unique. Ultimately I whipped up this awesome Binary Doormat! It is a Geek Chic nod to Digital Man's career. It says "Welcome" in binary.

I was inspired by this doormat that you can purchase from ThinkGeek for $39.99. That is unless you want to DIY like me.

To make my Binary Doormat, I purchased the Double-Border Panama Weave Doormat at Walmart (Shhh! It's only $6.97, don't tell my secret ;0) 

 I used Cloister Black font found at to form my binary code, cause it's more of my Analog style. Then I used a light table to trace the image onto Freezer Paper. Yes, that's right Freezer Paper. You should be able to buy it on the same aisle as the plastic wrap and aluminum foil in your local grocery or big box store.

Using a pen knife, I followed the lines I had traced onto freezer paper to cut out the stencil, making sure to keep the centers for the 0's. I taped the freezer paper stencil onto the doormat to hold it in place so I could iron the stencil on. First I ironed on the main stencil, then I ironed on the centers of each 0.

My original plan was to paint the mat blue, but the color I used was too light for my tastes. I ended up whipping out the black spray paint to get the job done. I didn't paint the mat immediately after ironing it. In fact, I painted several days later (don't judge me). Thus, I experienced some seepage due to a weaker seal. Next time I use a freezer paper stencil I'm going to remember to paint right after ironing. When I pulled off the freezer paper I had this awesome doormat! It has already been quite the conversation starter!

You can even create different messages in binary using a binary to text (ASCII) converter.

 Linking up to:
The Girl Creative monogram HookingupwithHoH

Dutch Oven Recipes: Yummiest Cornbread Ever

This post has been a long time coming. First of all, I want to thank everyone who voted for their favorite post. There was actually a tie between Dutch Oven Recipes and Analog Girl Meets Digital Man. I am starting with Dutch Oven Recipes, you'll have to stay tuned to this blog if you want to hear our love story because it is still in the works.

One of Digital Man's coworkers is an amazing Dutch Oven cook. His name is Rob Snow and he teaches how to use a Dutch Oven in his Outdoor Cooking classes at Dixie State College. Rob has generously given us permission to share two of his recipes in this blog. We used these recipes when we went camping this summer. We had more than enough for our family and we were able to share our delicious food with neighboring campers.

Rob's Cornbread {Yummiest. Cornbread. Ever.}

6 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (or maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the big Costco Cornbread Mix bag)
liquid -heavy whipping cream, half and half, or milk (we used canned evaporated milk)
1/4 pound butter - cut into 10 or so slices (Rob says "bacon grease is an acceptable substitute")
1-2 small cans green chilies
1-2 handfuls cooked bacon, cooled and crumbled (Rob says "precooked (Costco again) is most convenient"; we used about half a package of bacon)
grated cheese (We used about 2 cups;Cheddar is Rob's favorite, but he says that Jack Cheese or a mixture is good too.)
(optional) sweet peppers, diced
(optional) 1/3 cup yellow onion, diced

Prepare Dutch by saturating a paper towel with oil and placing on the bottom of a cold dutch.

Gently mix ingredients in a large bowl with a spatula or large spoon until a somewhat stiff batter forms (thicker than for pancakes) &  is fairly uniform.

Pour into Dutch on top of saturated paper towel and smooth out until mostly fills in the edges.

Well lit charcoal briquettes sufficient for 2 per number on Dutch - so a #14 is 28 Briquettes.  Place 1/3 (9) underneath and the remaining 2/3rds evenly on the lid

The thicker the cornbread is in the Dutch, the slower it should be cooked (reduce total heat).  Use a twig or fork to judge doneness by inserting and looking for still pasty segments in the middle.

When done invert over a cutting board

Serve with Honey Butter.

If you have persnickety little eaters around they might not be the biggest fans, but they are missing out because this is the yummiest corn bread ever. Just writing this post makes me want some,  maybe I can convince Digital Man to let me build a dutch oven campfire in our backyard?

You Pick the Post!

Lately I have been suffering from the blogging blahs. Last week I even unplugged myself from the blogs I usually follow and tried to avoid Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest where possible. It wasn't that I am suffering from writers block, I can usually think of plenty of things to say. I just didn't want to waste my time on a post of little value.  I also realized that I was being overwhelmed by all the talent found in the blogosphere. I found myself stuck in a cycle of comparisons where I found myself lacking.

It has made me ask questions like, "Is blogging worth it?"  and "What is my purpose in blogging?" I want my blog to provide inspiration for your home and family.

I have learned many things since I started writing this blog a year ago last July. Yet there is still a lot that I want to learn. For example, I still know nothing about html, taking great pictures, or editing them. For my birthday, I received Adobe Elements. I am excited to start learning and hopefully you'll be seeing lots of improvements.

In the meantime, I can use your help! I want to know what the reader's of my blog would like to read about next. Please click on the link below and vote for the post you'd like to read!

What to do with all this zucchini? Sausage Ratatouille

Has zucchini season hit your neighborhood? Even though we didn't grow a full garden this year (I only managed to get our onions planted), we have already received many gifts of zucchini from friends that have more than they know what to do with. 

Back in January we discovered a new recipe to use up all that zucchini, Sausage Ratatouille. Now that zucchini is back in season I'm sharing the recipe again.

Sausage Ratatouille from FamilyFun

3 to 4 links (about 3/4 pound) Italian sausage (I use turkey sausage)
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into a 3/4-inch dice
2 small zucchini, halved and sliced
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 medium-size green bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced (I buy the big Costco jar of garlic and use 1 heaping teaspoon)
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tomato paste
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (I used dried parsley)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (I used dried basil)

Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Puncture the sausage links in several places, then cook them at a low boil until they're no longer pink in the center, about 14 minutes. Transfer the links to a plate to cool, then slice them into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

Over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the eggplant and zucchini and sauté them, stirring often, until they are lightly browned but not soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.

In the same skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté them for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sliced sausage and sauté, stirring often, for 3 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini. 

Partially cover the skillet and gently simmer the ratatouille for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, along with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer 5 minutes more. Stir in the parsley and half of the basil. Serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining basil. 

Serves 6.

Rating: Digital Man, Nano Bot (based on how greedily he ate it), and I gave Sausage Ratatouille 5 fingers, Cyber Princess gave it 4 fingers. Robo Dude gave it 0 fingers because it has onions and tomatoes. (Can you guess who the picky eater is in our family?)