My friend Christina makes this amazing bread, or boule (French for “ball”), nearly every day. It’s perfectly crusty on the outside and perfectly soft and delicious on the inside. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to make. No kneading! The trickiest part is getting the timing right because it’s about a 20-hour process. But don’t let that intimidate you. Mostly the bread just sits on the counter while you go about your business. You can read about why the no-knead method works here. You do need a heavy covered pot of some kind (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic) that can fit in your oven. I use this Martha Stewart cast-iron pot, which I bought on sale with a coupon at Macy’s. Target has lots of options, too.
The recipe is from Jim Lahey, courtesy of The New York Times. Give it a try and let us know how it turned out! One last thing: if you have leftover bread, you don’t need to wrap it. Just put it cut side down on a wooden cutting board, if you have one. Your counter would work, too.
- AmberLee at The Giver’s Log has cute printable thank-you notes. She also has some thoughts on finding balance. I like the one about life being tricky when you’re a capable person.
- Day 8 of the Push-Up Challenge. Things are getting serious.
- Need some help sticking with your resolutions this year? Read this article about how to accomplish your goals in life. You’ll be glad you did.
Grandpa Jeff was kind enough to help us finish the built-in bookcase in the loft recently. It is sitting there, in all its pristine whiteness, just waiting to be filled. I love the styling on this bookcase by Gabrielle of Design Mom (made even better by her baby daughter). But as much as I admire how Gabrielle groups the books by color, I don’t think I have it in me to do the same. I’m firmly in the sort-by-genre group. Alphabetized, even. What about you?
I also have to figure out a way to hide the speaker switch box on the bottom shelf. Tim, more of a function than form kind of guy, informed me that it can’t be moved because the speaker wires from the bedrooms all terminate there. Well, it could be moved but it would be a big project. I’m going to think of this as a creative challenge. Ideas are welcome.
- If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it. Luckily, there’s a plethora of cute notepads out there. I like this free download from design.wash.rinse.repeat.
- Spotted this on Dream Everyday.
- This custom-made board game might make a great present. Will tuck it away in the Idea File.
- These customized paperdolls from Lily and Thistle are on my wish list. I especially like the Fairy Tale package. What a lovely way to while away a wintry afternoon.
- Day 7 of the Push-Up Challenge. Keep going!
Have a great weekend! We’ll be visiting the Science Museum and maybe doing a little skiing if we can pull Andrew away from his beloved Green Bay Packers.
Over the years, I’ve tried to come up with a system for keeping track of allowances and chores but nothing has ever stuck. I saw this Marble Jar Reward System in the June/July 2010 issue of Family Fun and, ever hopeful, decided to give it a try. I purchased four glass jars, puffy paints, and stickers at JoAnn Fabrics. Marbles were surprisingly hard to find, but I finally tracked some down at Walmart. I decorated the jars and made a chart that listed jobs in one column and the number of marbles earned in the other.
What works: This system definitely inspires a sense of ownership and initiative. I like the tangible connection between “I want X” and “Here’s how I can earn it.” I also like how the kids can see their jars filling up. As the marbles creep closer to the top, their motivation increases.
What doesn’t work: Using the jars as a reward for positive/negative behavior. It felt too arbitrary to take away a marble that was fairly earned because of a moment of weakness. I’d be in big trouble if that rule applied to me. The other issue is that the reward system as laid out (fill up the marble jar, then have a friend sleep over, get a new toy, etc.) was too “out there.” Andrew wanted a $60 video game, while Lily had her sights on a $10 Barbie. We’d quickly go broke if we kept that up, plus it didn’t really feel fair.
Our tweaks: Each marble is now worth 25 cents. The jars each hold about $40 worth of marbles, so if Lexie wants to buy something big from American Girl, she has to fill up her jar a couple of times. On the other hand, if she wants to buy something for $10, she doesn’t have to wait until her jar is full; she can cash in her marbles at any time. Marbles are rewarded strictly for a job well done and cannot be added or removed for good or bad behavior.
I’ll let you know how this works. And please share your ideas, too.
- Check out this New Year’s Time Capsule. If you started this, would you keep it up every year?
- The Purl Bee’s Best of 2010. Baby leg warmers!
- Wouldn’t a poster of Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals help you get off to a good start this year? You can download it for free here. The file is big and took a while to download, but the finished product will look good on my revamped inspiration board.
- Day 6 of the Push-Up Challenge. So far, so good.
I knitted this headband for my friend Christina. Happy birthday! Doesn’t she look great? I used this pattern from Martha Stewart Living. There are garter-stitch and cable versions. I stuck with garter stitch, but I’d like to try the cable version once I get my courage up. The pattern gives directions for making I-cords for the headband’s ties, but I like visual directions when possible, so I went here for help.
I love the Chloe sweater from Never Not Knitting. I have a little goddaughter with a birthday in March. If I got started now, I just might finish this in time. I’ve never done buttons before, but I’m sure Knitting Help will have a video to walk me through the process.
- Day 5 of the 100 Push-Ups Challenge. It’s not too late to join in.
- Are you in an organizing frame of mind? Take a look at this fantastic project board from Marta Writes. I have an empty bulletin board just waiting to be filled.
- Doesn’t this peanut butter pie look delicious? I think we’ll be having it for dessert this weekend.
(Update: We made the peanut butter pie and it was so good. Michelle at One Ordinary Day said it was rich and she wasn’t kidding. Definitely a keeper.)