Signs of spring abound.  There are little green shoots sprouting up from the ground all over our property, thanks to the gajillion (technical gardening term) perennial bulbs we planted last fall.  We planted almost 100 bulbs – so many that we had forgotten where they all were!  It’s been a fun treasure hunt to spot everything growing.  The daffodils and crocuses have been the first to bloom.  And sadly, they are probably the only ones we will get to see!

After an unusually warm winter, we are expecting up to 2 feet of snow tonight and tomorrow.  Gasp!  So not ready for that much snow.  Or any snow.  I am in all kinds of spring fever mode, not snow boots and snow sledding mode.  #justsaynotosnow

I’m afraid we won’t get to see the rest of our daffodils, crocuses, scilla, puschkinia, hyacinthoides, irises, or day lilies, as well as the tiger lilies that I dug up from my Daddy’s house and transplanted here.  But I’m holding out hope that some of them may still bloom!  And at least we still have the rest of the perennials to look forward to.

In the meantime, I’m ready for snow in the refrigerator-stocked, baking-supplies-ready-to-go kind of way.  The snow blower is in place and all of the proper preparations have been made.  Sigh.

I’ve been sourdough baking for about 3 months now.  I love it.  Yes, it does require a little effort.  But we aren’t eating store-bought bread anymore and are slowly switching most of our crunchy snacking over to these babies.  Everyone loves them so much that I sometimes bake them daily to keep up!  Of all the sourdough goods I’ve baked, these crackers are probably the easiest and require very little effort.  I make up the dough before going to bed, and then roll out, cut, and bake them in the morning.  Easy peasy.  I’ve even baked them on the mornings of co-op … that’s saying something considering how much effort it takes to get everyone and everything out of the house by 8:15am.

I need to start experimenting with different seasonings, but this version is just so yummy.  It’s based on THIS recipe that I found on Pinterest.  It does use unbleached white flour, which I realize isn’t the best flour option.  But there are no chemicals or preservatives in the crackers otherwise.  Just real ingredients.  One day I may try experimenting with other more nutrient-dense flours.  This recipe is such a big winner for us though, so I’m keeping it as-is for now.

Ingredients:

1 cup sourdough starter discard
4 tbsp melted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup – 1 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash paprika

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix melted butter into the sourdough starter.  Add 1/2 cup of the flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and dash of paprika.  Then add enough extra flour to make a stiff dough that won’t stick to your hands, though it’s ok if it’s still slightly sticky.  I do all of the mixing with a spoon.  Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 8-12 hours.  I typically rise the dough overnight, which gives it a chance to roughly double in size.

When you are ready to make the dough, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  If your dough is proofing in the oven, make sure to remove it first!  I’ve made the mistake of forgetting it in there more than once, and it’s very frustrating!

Next, punch the dough down and knead for a few minutes, adding flour as needed so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands or work surface.  Then divide the dough into two even pieces.  Roll out each to about 1/8 inch thickness.  I roll the dough right onto my metal airbake cookie trays so I don’t have to transfer the dough from the counter.  Then use a pizza cutter or pastry cutter to cut the dough into desired shapes, trying to keep similar sizes so the crackers bake evenly.

Next, bake the cookies at 350 for 15 minutes.  Depending on how evenly your oven bakes, you may want to consider switching the trays around halfway through.  After 15 minutes, turn off the oven but leave the crackers in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Pull them out when the crackers are crispy and then let cool.  Store in an airtight container, if they last that long!

When we first walk through our new house, I dreamed of a beautiful, rustic farm table sitting in the dining room that would be a workhorse for our family.  One that would be a treasured family heirloom and a favorite centerpiece for lots of meals, gatherings with friends, hours of reading aloud together, learning to read and write and divide fractions, reviewing memory work, sharing cups of coffee and long conversations, savoring sweet treats, and a lifetime of countless memories.

It took about a year and a half, but my dream finally became a reality thanks to a generous Christmas gift from my mama!  I worked with a local artist who made our table and refinished six different chairs to compliment it perfectly.  We went with a seven-foot table to maximize the space but not be too large.  I would’ve loved it to be a little larger, but the space just didn’t warrant it.  And if needed, we have the ability to push four more chairs up to the table.  It’ll be a tight fit, but family and friends don’t mind being close.  Ha!

Isn’t it stunning?  If you’re local and are searching for custom furniture, please contact Angela from Koukla Fine Decor so she can work her magic for you!

At any given point, we always have several flying friends visiting in our backyard.  Cardinals, woodpeckers, pigeons, blue jays, kingbirds, sparrows, blue birds, and lots of others.  I never thought I’d be a bird watcher, but I am simply fascinated by these tiny little creatures.  Today, this brilliant cardinal juxtaposed against the whitewashed snowy scene was so stunning.

He’s been working so hard on his preschool skills these last few months.  When we go downstairs to the school room he runs to his desk and declares, “Ma, I READY!”  It’s just adorable.  And such a difference compared to where we were two years ago!  He used to get mad at me when I’d sit him down to do an activity, and he almost never wanted to stick with anything for longer than a minute or two.

But now?  Now he delights in learning new things and doing his “dool wuk.”  His vocabulary has exploded, though he’s still difficult to understand a lot of the time.  He tells fantastical stories, puts more complex sentences together, and can tell us the names of all kinds of nouns.

And today he did this.  He wrote his name six times by himself, unassisted, and without tracing.  I was so proud of him I almost cried.  The squealing and jumping and high-fiving was off the hook.  For me.  Ha.  He just smiled at the thought of his accomplishment.  And then when he saw how ridiculously I was acting, he giggled too.  I’m not sure whether he was giggling in excitement, or giggling at me.  But either way is good.  Because we are all about celebrating big stuff like this.