Friday, July 18, 2014

Five Links Friday

What To Do When You Meet a Mountain Lion - I was reading up on this because in the past week, there have been a few sightings of this powerful kitty, one at the end of our lane! Eek!

30 Magical Photos of Children Playing Around the World - These are so great. Plus they make want to sell all my kids toys and just give them sticks to play with.

Human Brain Hard-Wired For Rural Tranquility - Interesting, yet not surprising.

Breaking the Hollow Praise Habbit: 25 Alternatives to "Good Job" - This is something I (with a lot of internal processing) have actually been really good about, even when Mason was a wee one. I don't tell my kids, "Good job", I usually thank them for helping me or make another positive remark regarding their achievement. It was nice to read this though and see some phrases I may not have thought of before.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bites - I made these this week and they were gone within an hour. The kids loved them, I loved them, even my peanut butter hating husband enjoyed them. I think I'll make them again real soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Interview With Mason at Age 3.5

What is your favorite color? Yellow.

What is your favorite TV show? Wild Kratts.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A tall boy.

What is your favorite food to eat? PBJ.

What food do you think is yucky? Seaweed.

What is your favorite song to sing? Jesus Loves Me.

What is your favorite game to play? Soccer ball.

If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be? A t-rex and a pig.

Are you going to be a dad some day? Uh huh.

How many babies are you going to have? Twenty.

What is your first baby's name going to be? Hadley.

What is your favorite sport? Fishing.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happiness Is...

Pausing at the mulberry tree for a snack.

Hearing your toddler that doesn't say much excitedly say "Bubbles!" in a high pitched voice over and over again.

Watching a duck eat watermelon.

Plopping down in the chair after a long day of child wrangling, catching up on Facebook and channel surfing the television.

When your toddler poops on the potty and it is completely on his terms.

Looking through Craigslist and coming across the perfect additions for your farm (Think turkeys! And geese!)

When your generous grandparents give you one of their old phones to replace the last old phone they gave you because, well, kids...

When your sister loans you her old camera lens because those same kids got to that, too. (Apparently I can't leave stuff on the table.)

The moment your realize all the kids are asleep for the night.

Clean counters.

Reading a blog post someone else wrote that just relates so well to your own life. Like {here} and {here}.

Seeing the huge smiles on the faces of your children as your push them on the swings.

* * *

What things have made you happy lately?

Monday, July 7, 2014

3 Things to Make With Tart Cherries

Our nice neighbors told my parents they could come pick some cherries at their farm. They picked two big baskets full, which didn't seem like much until we had to do something with them all...

We have a nice dehydrator and decided to put it to use. The first thing we made was simply dried tart cherries. We split them in half with the knife, took the pit out, and laid them out on the racks. It took us an hour to do two racks. And for some reason we started at 10 pm, not the best decision. And is it me or is anyone else depressed after drying so much fruit and then it comes out to be just a few handfuls worth?

Since the dehydrator was out, fruit leather was next on the list. I made three kinds, plain tart cherry, strawberry-cherry, and tart cherry chocolate. For the latter, I took three cups of (pitted)  cherries, 2 T. of cocoa powder, and 1 T. sugar; put it in the food processor, and then spread it out on some parchment paper on the drying racks. I dried them for about 6 hours, but checked often as I've learned fruit leather is something to keep an eye on so it doesn't get too crunchy. The results were sour, but the kids really like it!

Last, I made a tart cherry simple syrup. You start off making a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) and then simmer in fruit to make it flavored. I used 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar, heated in a pan until the sugar dissolved. Then I dumped in 3 cups of pitted cherries and simmered for about 20 minutes. After straining the the liquid, I was left with this bright red goodness. We used the syrup on waffles, in iced tea, and Tyler even added some to his Coke. Mason kept asking for me to flavor his water with some, too. This was my favorite thing we made with the cherries, also the quickest and easiest.

The cherry trees are done for the year, but now we know what to make next time.

* * *

Do you like tart cherries? What do you use them for?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Five Links Friday

Bubbly Probiotic Lemonade - Mason loves lemonade, he asks for some often. Lately I've just been giving him lemon water because we are "out of lemonade", but I'd like to try this recipe soon!

5 Ways Clearing Off My Kitchen Counters Changed My Life - I cleared off my counters early in the day this week and then went on to read this article. That order of events was backwards, but I agree with all the points she made. Physical clutter really does clutter the mind.

How to Be Friends With a Farmer - Do you have farmer friends? Do you help out when you visit them?

22 Books You Should Read Now Based on Your Childhood Favorites - This is an old article, but I had it saved to share and haven't shared any links since.. December.. so if you didn't see it floating around before, check it out. What was your favorite childhood book on the list?

Using Sand In the Coop - We have a chicken house with many issues, including a leaky roof. Whenever it rains, the woodchips get wet making them last a very short while. We did get a tarp thrown over the roof, but are also thinking about switching to sand, both in the coop and some in the outdoor run. I would have never thought of it before reading this.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Google Pad

Last week, a thunderstorm compromised our internet by frying our router. 5 long days later, we are up and running again. I was a nice break, and I know we can live without internet, but there were times we just wanted to Google something. I started to write things down that we wanted to look up.

Why is New York called the Big Apple?
Our niece asked us this question, we had no idea why. After briefly looking it up, I'm still not entirely sure of the answer.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Recipe
I had just found one on Pinterest before we lost internet, but I didn't pin or print it, but wanted to make some. I ended up just making up my own recipe and Tyler says it tasted "Amazing." I'll have to share it with you sometime.

Ditch Weed
I pulled a weed and we thought this is what it was, but wanted to double check. Now that I've looked, seems we were right.

Mulberry Pie Recipe
I picked a large bowl of mulberries off one of our trees and thought they would make a good pie. They are in the fridge, I think I've decided to use them in place of blues in a blueberry buckle recipe I found in one of my books, but if you have ever made mulberry pie, how did it turn out?

Flavored Gelatin Packets Without Artificial Dyes
My dad was talking about some making a mulberry pie and said I should add some Jello to it make sure it is thick, to which I reminded him we don't do artificial dyes, so he said I should start a business making gelatin packets that don't have the dyes. Hmmmmm.

How does smoking preserve meat?
1. The heat kills microbes. 2. It dries the food, inhibiting bacteria growth. 3. Chemicals in the smoke serve as preservatives.

When is elderberry season?
Just wanted to know when I need to start foraging for some. I'm still not sure, sometime between mid-July and September.

Albino Toad
I found a toad this morning that was way lighter in color than "normal" toads. I reached down to pick it up and it hopped off the deck and into a crevice I could reach it, so I didn't get a chance to take a picture. It wasn't white-white, but more a dusty grey-white. I just wanted to see pictures of toads other people have found to compare.

What kind of things have you Googed lately? Is you search history this random?