Apple Brownie and Apple Juice

ApplesWe are literally drowning in apples this year. We have already filled the freezer with applesauce, which will later be used for apple trifle and yesterday we juiced the remaining apples.  When you juice you get a lot of pulp and it really annoyed me to let that go to waste. This  time I tried putting it in a cake. I used this Rivercottage recipe for Beetroot Brownie and simply replaced the beetroot with apple pulp. The apple pulp is a little dry compared to freshly blended beetroot, so to compensate I added 1 dl. of water (3 fl oz) to the pulp during blending. Even when I know there is apple in this recipe, the taste is still only that of great brownie.

Applejuice

Tip: Freshly squeezed juice should be consumed pretty fast, but if you freeze it in cleaned milk cartons, it will last several months. For apple juice you might consider adding a little bit of lemon juice to reduce discoloration due to oxidation.

 

5 Effortless Ways to Keep Your Dog Happy

You bought the dog before you got kids, maybe even before you found your soul mate. You had all the time in the world to keep the dog company. You went on long walks 5 times a day and hiked on the weekends, trained every Wednesday and cuddled for at least an hour after work.

Suddenly something happened – life took a turn. Maybe you went from part-time employment to full-time, maybe you always had your dog with you to work, but weren’t able to do that anymore, maybe a baby arrived, maybe a baby with colic arrived. The possibilities are endless but we all have periods in our lifes, where its challenging to get everything done and sadly, but often true, the dog are last in line.

Here are some of the things we do to keep our (high activity) dogs happy on busy days…

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Color Changing Activity Board for Toddlers

At the age of 2, M was pretty adventuros and kept us busy tidying up closets  and drawers. Part of our effort to keep his little hands busy, was to make him an activity board (busyboard). Here he could explore to his heart content, without any risk of cuts, burns, poisoning, electrocution or breaking expensive items. The board itself is nothing new.

Basically you cut a piece of fiberboard or plywood to desired size, paint it as you like, populate the board with whatever your child likes and mount the board to a suitable wall.

Our son had a special intrest in switches and colored lights and to accomodate that, I decided to mount 3 switches each controlling one channel of an RGB LED. The idea is that the individual colors can be turned on or off, one by one, enabling the child to mix the colors. The result can be seen in the video below.

The light feature is designed to be inexpensive and very easy to build. Its based on a single 5mm RGB common anode LED with voltage reducing resistors for each color.  However individual leds for each color could just as easily have been used. I used hot glue to diffuse the light.

The diagram below shows the curcuit alongside my ghetto implementation of it.

diagram and implementation

As seen I built it using whatever I had lying around that day, making this instance of the project very inexpensive and low impact. Except for paint, solder and hot glue every part is made with salvaged materials.

When someone sees the board for the first time, children and adults alike, they seem to go straight for the light switches and stay there –  fascinated.

 

The 8 Hour Diet & Healthy Peanutbutter Balls

Last week I challenged O to try a week on the 8:16 diet. He was a little hesitant at first, but was convinced when I told him, that it was for the sake of the blog.

The diet was first described by author David Zinczenko and editor-in-chief of Men’s Health Peter Moore and requires that you fast for 16 out of 24 hours a day.

For years we have been told that we should eat a lot of small meals during the day, but several experts are pro intermittent fasting for health reasons and believe that the body needs a break from food to heal itself. I don’t know about that, but I was pretty sure this test wouldn’t harm my body.

You can follow the 16:8 diet without restrictions, but if you want to lose weight it’s a good idea to consume less than 1,500 calories a day.

We didn’t count calories and ate whatever we felt like. We skipped breakfast and started eating around noon. That way it was possible to eat lunch with colleges and still have dinner together as a family.

Now for the results……

Continue reading The 8 Hour Diet & Healthy Peanutbutter Balls

Google Analytics – a Starter Guide

If you have gone to the trouble of creating a blog and publish stuff, at some point you will probably wonder if anybody is actually reading your posts. If you are looking for more followers your next immediate questions will be:

“Who, what and why are they watching?”

The base install of wordpress will not tell you this, but fortunately there are several reporting tools available. I chose Google Analytics because it’s greatly recommended, very comprehensive and last but not least – it’s free. 

This guide will help you install Google Analytics on your wordpress.org powered site. Continue reading Google Analytics – a Starter Guide

Twig Lantern and Lemon-Butter-Chicken

Yesterday we went on a picnic to get the most out of the early fall. We collected copious amounts of pine cones and acorns for future crafts.

The mushrooms are starting to peep forth, but since we are newbies in the field, we left them for others to collect. I really need to see if there is any mushrooming going on in our area.

When we got home I wanted to make a twig lantern like this one.  First I used an old jar, but that turned out to be a bad idea. The bottom was slightly curved which caused the candle to slide and heat up the glass to the bursting point. No one was hurt. I used a hot glue gun to attach the twigs and added some acorns. Make sure that the glue connects all the way around the glass otherwise it will not last.

Twig LanternCheck that the bottom of your glass is completely flat.

While I was crafting and M was spreading pinecones everywhere, O made Lemon-Butter-Chicken. The recipe is repinned over 500 times which, I tell you, is no coincidence. Chicken, butter and smoked paprika are just an awesome mix.

 

 

What kinds of fall crafts are you doing this year?

 

Hama Beads

As a child I loved beads and now as a parent I might even love them more. We use them to teach M the colors and to practice fine motor skills – in particular precision grip. It’s also quite fun for adults who may express themselves creatively.

Hama beadsYou can get different kinds of beads but I’ve been told that Hama beads are the best, so I went out and bought 30.000 beads in 48 different colors and a pair of tweezers, which I discovered, is actually pretty need to have.
Apparently birds are popular at the moment so I made a redbreast and a bluetit for the baby’s room, O made a little baby penguin and M made a spinning top (just add a toothpick and spin away).

Spinning TopWhen the children are finished with their bead projects, the question is always what to do with the craft? One idea is to put them to good use and glue magnets onto the beads and use them on the refrigerator.

Now for the ironing – we tried ironing the beads like this guy who uses tape, but O thinks that HE is the master of ironing beads and made his own video tutorial.

Continue reading Hama Beads

Vanish vs. Dish Soap – the Showdown

With kids and dogs in the house, messes and stains are quite commenplace. O’s mother has 3 children and 4 grandchildren and therefore has quite a lot of experience within the stain removal field.

She has tried to convince us of using Vanish more than once, but we have always been quite happy with regular dish soap which is better for both the environment and your health.

Should we trust the pink? It’s certainly a more expensive choice, but now to the test.

For the test setup we used a piece of cotton cloth cut into two pieces and applied 15 of the most common stains.

You really should remove stains immediately, but let’s face it – that never happens in real life, so we let the stains dry for the night. The next morning we soaked one cloth in water with dissolved Vanish Oxi Action Crystal White for 6 hours and then rubbed the stains (followed the instructions). The other cloth was soaked in water and dish soap. We rubbed some extra soap on the stains before soaking. This procedure was followed by 6 hours in a closed plastic bag.

We tried:

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Chocolate
  3. Fruit juice
  4. Coke
  5. Cooking oil
  6. Lipstick
  7. Ball point pen
  8. Permanent marker
  9. Coffee
  10. Mascara
  11. Fruit coloring
  12. Baby poop
  13. Grass
  14. Dandelion sap
  15. Ketchup

You will notice a free space which should have been blood (no 16) but it turns out that we are too much of a pair of wushes to get that job done.

Now for the results…….

Continue reading Vanish vs. Dish Soap – the Showdown

Constructive Eating

I read this article about how to get your kids to eat their vegetables, which we all know can be quite a challenge. The Danish board of Health recommends 600 grams of fruit and greens every day, but only a tenth of the Danish children meet the standard. Pretty scary.

The authors stated that it’s easier to learn to like the taste of vegetables before the age 12 month due to the fact that 1-year old babies are far more skeptical about new foods and are strongly influenced by their parents’ habits. Next you need to expose the child to a new food item at least ten times before you throw in the towel.

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Upgrading to Windows 10 – Step by Step Guide

I just upgraded to Windows 10. I was actually relatively happy with Windows 7, but ever since the upgrade to 10 proclaimed it was ready to install, my computer started giving me periodic BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death), with increasing frequency. Coincidence?

Conspiracy theories aside my Windows 7 installation had been begging me to be put out of its misery for a long time, and if I was going to do a fresh install anyway, I might as well upgrade. Here are my recommendations for the upgrade and simplified step by step instructions of the process.

Continue reading Upgrading to Windows 10 – Step by Step Guide