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?

Sunday, June 8, 2014


We picked the 10 ripe strawberries. Half of those the bugs had beaten us to. Not a good year for strawberries here, the kids devoured them. Mason would accumulate three in his basket and then they'd each pick one out to eat. When I picked the last one, Mason took a bite and happily gave each of his sisters a bite before polishing it off. Such a good big brother he can be.

We spent some time with a few of the baby kitties.  Mason needed to put his in a bucket, of course. Elliot and Finnley carried their kitties around like a couple dolls. They weren't ready when it was time to put them back by their mommy and go in for a nap. Guess we'll have to visit again tomorrow.

Mason, Elliot, and Finnley hung out with Grandma Kim, Grandpa Tim, Great Grandma Jackie, Aunt Lindy, and Viggo this afternoon. They played bubbles and watched a movie, complete with popcorn. I'm sure they did lots of other fun stuff.

She gets her popcorn eating style from her Dad, no question.

And while the kids were enjoying their afternoon of entertainment, Tyler and I went on a date! To the movies! I'm using exclamation marks because we haven't been on a date, let alone the movies in oh... 4 years? Seriously. The last movie we saw in theaters was Blindside.

We went to see Neighbors today. It was funny, although I think I laughed more than anyone else in the theater. I kept thinking I need to check the monitor or that the movie was too loud and it was going to wake the kids up, since we only ever watch movies at home while the kids are sleeping. It was way better in the theater, volume up with no monitor hum and nobody waking up to tend to! Hopefully we get to do it again soon, as in not four years from now.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What's Cookin'?

Here's what has been going on in my kitchen lately...

Korean Beef - So simple and tasy. If you want to mix things up instead of doing the usually hamburger routine (tacos, sloppy joes, etc.) give this a try. Find the recipe HERE.

Make your own pizza night. Enough said.

Shepherd's Pie. One of my husband's favorites. Recipe HERE.

I went through a phase of having a couple fried eggs on top of a tortilla, with shredded cheese, salsa, avocado and some sour cream for breakfast. Mmmm.

Homemade Nutella. It doesn't taste like the stuff from the jar, but is good nonetheless. I've actually made a few batches so far. The recipe is HERE, but I did double the maple syrup! I've had the hazelnuts in my cupboard for a while, I'm glad I finally made some, it wasn't as time consuming as I imagined it to be.

Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits. I could probably eat the entire batch no problem, maybe I should make them in secret next time so I don't have to share. I can't find a recipe online, so if you want the recipe let me know and I can type mine up for you!

BBQ Potato Chips. It was my first time deep frying potatoes (well, deep frying anything really), but they turned out delicious. Mason was pretty excited to have chips with supper, they are one of the toddler food groups in case you didn't know. Recipe HERE.

Lemon Bars. Ever since Adrienne mentioned lemon bars in a recent blog post, I just had to have some. It was my first time making them, for some reason I thought it was more complex, but it was so easy. Silly me, lemon bars and homemade Nutella are things I should have been making much sooner in my life. Recipe HERE.

Parmesan Pilaf Stuffed Red Peppers. Red peppers were on mega sale, so we got to enjoy these. Yum! Recipe HERE.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Flock, Food, and Finger

Our chicks and ducks are getting bigger, especially the ducks. They seem to be growing especially fast and look somewhat silly running around with their short wings, almost like they are missing arms or something. I love that we chose 4 very differently colored ducklings, it will be easier to remember who is who, whereas the chickens still all look the same as one another. The ducks are not very tame, they always run away from us, whereas the chickens are a little more curious and trusting. Everyone comes when we bring out treats though! They LOVE apples and pears.

We brought the six bigger birds into the fenced part of our yard one day last week. They aren't free ranging yet, the little ones are not big enough to fend off the cats so we are waiting a little longer before letting them roam. This day was just a bit of a treat for the big gals (and maybe a couple guys? can't tell yet). Mason enjoyed picking them up and giving them rides on his bike. Jax (the dog) whined from the other side of the fence. We are still working with him to not attack them, there is still room for plenty of improvement there. The chickens spent most of the day under the deck (yuck). At least that meant less chicken poop in the yard, which Jax cleaned up most of the that (double yuck).

I planted a couple different varieties of green beans. They have come up within the last couple days and there are already rabbits munching on the leaves. I might have to have Tyler build a little fence around them like he did my garden back in Nebraska. It wasn't the prettiest, but it kept the bunnies out!
I also have planted some cilantro and cucumbers from seeds. My seedlings I started inside aren't doing so hot. I planted out a few of the tomatoes, and they don't look like they've grown a single centimeter in the last week, my hopes aren't high. The pepper plants are alive, but small. I'm still debating (with myself) as to whether it will actually be worth the effort of planting them in the ground or not. I will definitely be starting my seeds indoors earlier next year.

We've been experimenting with ice cream making lately. The big tubs you get at the grocery store are not only expensive, but filled with high fructose corn syrup among other things. Shocking, right? I got an ice cream maker many moons ago for Christmas (like when I was in middle school) and it still works great. I started with a basic vanilla recipe, but then winged it with a blueberry chocolate chip. It was pretty good, not very blueberry-y. The kids devoured it and we brought some to Tyler's dad when we visited since he is one of the biggest blueberry lovers we know and he had not trouble polishing it off. I'm excited to come up with other concoctions. Do you have any tried and true recipes?

My cousin, Kirk, came out and planted some pasture for us last week. My dad is letting us rent a couple acres of his farmland to the south of our acreage. We have plans to fill our freezer next year with some beef, so it was time (actually past time) to get the pasture mix in the ground. Mason timidly asked Kirk if he could ride in the tractor with him. When Tyler lifted him up into the cab, Mason just squinted his eyes tightly shut, you know, so Kirk couldn't look at him. By the time they were done, Mason had talked Kirk's ear off; he kept announcing to Kirk that it was 5 o'clock (while it was not, I'm sure Kirk let him know it was in fact 5 o'clock somewhere). He's still talking about his tractor ride and the fact that he was in his jammies at the time.

I love our views. We get to see the sun rise and set. Every night recently, there have been awesome clouds in the sky, thunder heads to one direction or another. We always know where the storms will be. My mom and I watched these clouds for a while the other night, I had to snap some pictures when the finger appeared.

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Linked up with the Homestead Barn Hop.