Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sesame Teriyaki Venison over Sticky Rice

You'll need:
  • About two left over venison steaks, sliced into thin strips.
  • a thawed bag of broccoli florets
  • three cups of pre- made rice
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • sesame seeds (about 3 tablespoons)
  • soy sauce (about 2 tablespoons)
This quick meal is not supposed to be a project, I throw this together for a quick lunch in about 5 minutes, so don't make it anymore complicated then it has to be :) All ingredients are approximate, so modify it to accommodate your tastes :)   I use what I have around example: if you happened to have opened a can of pineapple recently, save the juice, and use it in place of the orange.  I slice the left over venison steak up before I put it away from the night before, to save time.  Make your rice when you have time and stick it in the fridge a day or two in advance, then you have it ready for side dishes, quick rice pudding or whatever :)

Ready?    Saute your sesame seeds and sliced venison in 3 tablespoons butter, sprinkle the brown sugar over it, squeeze the orange over it, add your broccoli florets, splash the soy sauce on it......and stir.  Keep it moving till its heated through, and serve on a bed of white rice...... it's really that simple :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Loofah Sponge Holiday Craft Project

We picked our gourds last week and brought them in to dry on a rack by the fire place.  Most of them dried out real nice, the skins turned a dark brownish green and they sounded hollow when I tapped them.   There were a few that got moldy and needed to be discarded, but we learn from our mistakes and next year we'll be more careful to turn them more often during the drying process.

The first step to this process was the most fun for the kids.  Zi got to slam the gourds against the floor to loosen the skin and knock the seeds loose.  After a few good whacks the bottoms break off and all the seeds can be shook out fairly easily.  We saved our seeds for next year's Loofah garden (Zi plans to expand this little enterprise).

After all the gourds were assaulted to the best of Zi's ability we sat and peeled the skin away with our fingers. This at first seemed like a grueling chore but after the first one it got easier.  It just took some practice to become efficient at it.

Next we rinsed all the sap off them, lightly washed them with dish soap, then soaked them in a mild bleach and water solution for a few minutes to destroy any bacteria or molds that may have been hiding in our sponges. After another good rinse, we squeezed all the excess water out of them and hung them up to dry by the fire. By tomorrow our loofahs will have dried again and we'll cut them into manageable sized sponges.

This project was probably one of the simplest and inexpensive educational crafts we did this year.  Zi saw a whole process through from start to finish, experiencing all of the stages of the growth and production of a loofah sponge, from a seed to practical holiday gift. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simple lazy night Hot potato salad

Very yummy, perfect for cool fall evenings when you just wanna sit on the sofa and eat something hot from a bowl.  I throw this together late in the season right before it's time to turn the garden under because  I can't stand to let the late broccoli go to waste.  very easy to make :)

You'll need:
  • four or five baked potatoes
  • fresh grated cheddar cheese
  • steamed broccoli
  • crumbled left over bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • sour cream
How much of any of the ingredients listed above you choose to use really depends on your tastes. Dice your baked potatoes with skins on,  chop up the steamed broccoli and gently mix it all together in a bowl with the crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar then add salt and pepper. Serve with a big spoonful of sour cream on top :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Local Fallen Heros Ride & Pig Roast

beer line

This weekend we attended a fund raising event at the Cementon play ground created to benefit the children of Jesse Reed and Adam Keys, both were graduates of Whitehall High School.  Jesse gave his life serving our country and Adam was left severely disabled.  This event was very well organized, extremely family oriented, and had something for everyone :)  The people who organized this event are incredible people, as are the local businesses that made such grand contributions.   For $20 an adult (kids were free), it was all you could eat and drink, and the variety of food options was amazing.  There was over 300 motorcycles parked out on the grass, and roughly 1000 people came out in all.  The Chinese auction had over a hundred donated items to bid on, there was a moon bounce, face painting for the kids (free tattoos for the adults) door prizes, a live band, and beer. 

Chinese auction table

Tattoo artists were available if anyone wanted some ink, patriotic designs seemed to be the most popular.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Klein Farms Dairy Tour

 Recently I joined the Eco-Moms Alliance Group of the Lehigh Valley,  it's a group of  like minded moms pursuing an eco-friendly lifestyle. Members of this group coordinate family style outings to various places of interest in the area :)  Today we participated in our first group organized meet up event at Klein Farms Dairy & Creamery.  We made attendance of this event a priority because Zi desperately wanted to visit a farm that sold meat and dairy products that were raised and processed on site.  She was thrilled to be able to meet the cows that made the milk her yogurt smoothie was made from.    Klein farms gave our group a free tour of the premises, we saw the milking room, the cheese making kitchen, the baby cow area and the chickens.  There was also a playground and two corn mazes for the kids.  One corn maze was short and simple for the little kids and one was a much longer more complex maze for the big kids.  The tour was about a half an hour long and was honest and informative, and the kids had opportunities to ask questions (which was important to Zi).  After the tour, the group took a hay ride up to the pumpkin patch, then everyone was treated to product samples in the farm store.  We came home with a cooler bag full of milk, cheeses, yogurt and beef, and the prices were reasonable :) We were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be present for the birth of a beautiful baby calf during our visit, and that made the day extra special :)   I think we'll make this a regular thing.

The calf being born :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Anti-bacterial surface spray

Homemade spray cleaner is so easy to make, and it's so versatile you really don't need any other cleaning products :) 

Mix equal parts water, vinegar, and vodka in an empty plastic spray bottle, and go clean something!

You can add 30 drops of your favorite essential oil if you'd like a scented cleaner, lavender and orange are nice :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Did they really post that?.......WTF

Seriously, I get it,  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.   But when it's a rude or deliberately hurtful opinion (in the form of any sort of random derogatory remark), directed at another human being, it's just bad manners, plain and simple.  Don't try to justify this behavior as some sort of social mores, some of us know better :P  

I have a love/ hate relationship with Facebook.  I love it because I know whats going on with all my friends and family, and I hate it for the same reason, LOL   One thing I have noticed is that I happen to know quite a few cyber bullies.  I've deleted about 50 people this year because they can't be civilized to one another online (and I don't want to see their posts on my news feed, even if the remark is'nt directed at me). I had know idea that there was an official  term for these people until it came up in my daughters Internet safety class.   Generally most people are polite and courteous with one another when speaking on the phone or in person, but they turn into animals "expressing their entitled opinions" online, almost all of which, I might add, are completely unsolicited by the target of the bully's aggression.  What happened to "if you don't have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself ?"........ :P

My little helper :)

Sooooo... I left my coffee unsupervised in another room for a few minutes to help my daughter get started with her school work, and didn't think much of it when my little guy toddled away from my side.  A few seconds later I heard an odd "lapping" noise behind me, and turned around to see my one year old standing behind me very carefully holding my cup of coffee for Rupert (our Bulldog) to drink from!   Not wanting to startle them (my boy has a history of throwing things and running when he gets caught) I causally asked him what he was doing.   He looked at me and giggled,  gently pushed Rupert away from the coffee, then toddled back to my side and handed my coffee to me with a big smile on his face :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract is very simple to make and it exceeds the quality of any commercial variety available. You'll need:
  • a clean glass jar
  • a vanilla bean (these are for sale at almost any grocery store, just ask)
  • plain vodka
Add one bean for every three tablespoons vodka to your glass jar, close the jar, and let stand for at least four weeks, then remove the bean and use:)

Homemade Brown Sugar

There's two things you can't skimp on when your baking and that's your Vanilla extract and your Brown Sugar (there used to be three, but there's some pretty decent butter substitutes out there now a days) You need to have the very best of each, and that means you have to make it yourself :)   Brown sugar is surprisingly simple to put together, and after you get in the habit of preparing it, you'll never go back to store-bought.  It's inexpensive to make and has a much richer taste :)  you'll need:
  •  1 cup regular granulated white sugar
  •  1 tablespoon molasses (2 for a dark brown sugar)
Just mash it together in a bowl with a folk, store in an airtight container until ready to use :)   YES it's really that simple :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Loofah Plants :)

Loofah plant
The baby helps find the gourds:)

The vine climbs trees :)

Mayzi likes to make holiday gifts for family members. We usually make pine cone bird feeders, bake bread and cookies.  But this year this year we planted some Loofah gourd plants to make organic loofah sponges and started collecting glass jars to put homemade sugar scrub in.  

 I wasn't expecting the plants to be as productive as they are, I almost got hysterical when my husband accidentally picked the immature gourds thinking they were squash.  But in the last few weeks my gourds have come back strong! They've taken over the garden and are working their way up the big pines in the tree line. 

 I'm looking forward to seeing how this project turns out.  After the gourds mature, they'll turn brown or yellow.  Then we can harvest, peel and clean them and she'll have lots of loofah sponges to give  :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beer Batter Waffles

Waffles for supper :)  when all the great Autumn brews are available :)  This is my favorite beer waffle recipe:
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs separated (add yolks to batter, and beat whites in separate bowl)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pack yeast
Heat your waffle iron, mix together all ingredients except the egg whites, after your waffle iron is ready, fold beaten egg whites into batter.  Spoon onto your hot iron and remove when the waffle is a nice golden brown color. Enjoy :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Things I learned from my 1 year old today :)

I'm completely amazed by my children, they are far more worldly and knowledgeable then most of the adults I know. This is a list of things I learned from my 1 year old just this morning :)
  • Cozy Coops can be tipped over......
  • those child safety plugs for your outlets are also effective plugs for your nose....
  • cats and dogs will eat avocado if a baby hand feeds it to them.....
  • biting is an acceptable way to resolve an issue....
I can't wait for this afternoon :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Main Street New Hope With The Kids

Let me just start off by saying that Main Street New Hope with kids on a Saturday evening was a poor choice.   It was loud, crowded , smelled bad and there was nothing to do there (according to our 7 year old).   There was a few new shops that caught my eye, and we picked up a few interesting things, but there was also a lot of empty retail space, so I wouldn't consider it a really great shopping destination anymore.  But if your looking for a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, it might be worth the trip.  We had a late dinner at Bitter Bob's, This place had great barbecue, but the sides were nothing to rave about.  We sat outside to eat and they let us buy beer at the bar next door. It's possible that we may have outgrown what this quaint little town has to offer, so I won't be doing that again, and next time we'll just do Peddlers Village and just come over to Main Street to try the Triumph Brewing Company:)

Friday, September 17, 2010

I found a flaw....... The Fast Forward Program

I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I've in this day and age, I've managed to raise a child that would rather do pretty much anything but play a video game.   But her aversion became something of a problem when she started the Fast Forward Program.  Participation in this program is mandatory for students coming out of traditional public schools.  The Fast Forward Program is a series of video games designed to build cognitive skills of memory, attention, processing rate and sequencing.  It's also is supposed to advance reading skills, vocabulary and comprehension, but what it really seemed to do is bore Mayzi into a zombie like state, that screwed up the rest of our school day, lol  She started this program in first grade and by the end of the year we were struggling to get her to participate.  There wasn't even much I could say except that "it's there, so you have to do it". This program is gruelling for all of us (it's painful to even observe) the games are dull and uninteresting and move waaaay to slow, it's like the mental equivalent of watching a grocery checker continuously scan the same item again and again and again, for a half an hour.  When she saw it on her planner this year I could tell she was disappointed, but she didn't complain, she did it because it was there and didn't make a fuss about it, which means she's got way more sophisticated coping skills than I do because there was just no way I was gonna sit through another year of watching a sad little girl sit in that hot mess and not try to do something about it, lol   So I made a call to her teacher and they fixed it!  overnight! she still has to do the Fast Forward Program, but after politely ;) explaining our issues with it, and reviewing her records,they bumped her ahead a grade level  in the program:)  This change in the variety of games with a more challenging curriculum was all that she needed :)  She's happy, so I'm happy:)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tadpole project: And then there was one :(

One of our tadpoles died during the night.  I'm not sure what went wrong, There's a few reasons why it could have died, It was the bigger of the two tadpoles, so maybe it didn't have enough room in the container, or perhaps it was over fed (that's my best guess). The instructional pamphlet that came with the little guys says the most common cause of death is improper water care.  Soap or lotion residue on your hands or any containers you use can hurt them, I thought I had taken all the proper precautions to avoid contaminating them.  I guess we'll be even more careful next time we change the water, and move the tank out of areas where over spray from cleaners or perfumes can get inside the container.  Wish the lonely tadpole luck :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Crock Pot Beer Chilli :)

You'll need:
  • Bag of dried kidney beans (or two cans rinsed)
  • two packs of powdered taco seasoning
  • 1 pound of any type of ground meat (beef, turkey, tofu, venison)
  • three fresh diced tomatoes (or two cans diced tomatoes)
  • 6 cups of fresh diced vegetables (anything goes) we like zucchini, bell peppers, yellow squash, chili peppers, onion, celery
  • one bottle of beer
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • grated cheddar cheese
Get the meat cooking in the crock pot while you start the beans (prepare those according to quick cook package directions, usually you rinse them, then bring to a boil in a covered sauce pan for a few minutes then shut off the heat and let them sit for an hour)  dice your veggies (I use whatever I have in the garden that day), and set aside. After your ground meat looks cooked through, and your beans, veggies, bottle of beer and the two packs of taco seasoning then stir and let simmer for about 3 hours. Serve topped with grated cheddar cheese :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tadpole Project :)

Science is one of my little students favorite subjects.  There's no end to her curiosity as far as the wonders of nature are concerned, so this fall we ordered some tadpoles to observe and document the change from tadpole to frog.  She started a journal for them immediately, and plans to measure them, and draw a pictures of them daily. We ordered our Live Frog Growing Kit online from a website called Nature Gifts , check out this website, they have an impressive selection of educational products, I can't wait for spring so I can order the Ladybug or Butterfly kit.  We picked a native species of Bullfrog so the frogs could be released as adults next spring.  The kit included everything needed to care for the two tadpoles, and a instruction pamphlet.  Our Tadpoles arrived by priority mail just a few days after the order was placed, and didn't seem stressed by their journey :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Technical difficulties

Zi's school issued desk top tower took a tumble, the printer cable got yanked out, and wouldn't fit back in to the port,  and the sound had been malfunctioning.  I was completely expecting tech support to be a major hassle, but I was wrong.  The man on the phone (Cory) was completely delightful, wasn't even condescending in any way because we knocked it over :)  He scheduled a UPS pick-up, we packed it back up in the packaging it came in, and today we received notification that her new desk top is on the way, all over a holiday weekend and at no expense to us.  Seriously, I've had more problems scheduling a dentist appointment.

Cream Cheese Tofu Tarts :)

You'll  need:
  • 8oz. softened cream cheese
  • half a standard size package of tofu
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding
  • about 8 crushed graham crackers
  • 4 cups of berries (fresh or frozen)
This is a quick and easy no bake dessert, substitute fat free sugar free ingredients if you wish. Spread crushed graham crackers in the bottom of pie pan, or divide in four tart dishes.  Put cream cheese, tofu, milk and pudding mix in food processor and mix well, then scoop mixture into tart dishes, top with fruit and serve :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chick-lets: growing up

Our girls change every day. It's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago they were just tiny little balls of fluff. As they grow their individual personalities become more distinct. The leaders and followers have become easy to point out. It's interesting that just as with humans the leaders are not always the brightest of the flock.

From left to right: Ti-he, Lucy, Lafawndah & Stella

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to school

The start of a new school year is an exciting time for kids, but it's even more exciting if the whole family is involved.  We were very fortunate that our first day went smoothly.  In fact, I didn't even feel a bump in the transition.  Over all I'd say it was pretty seamless for all of us.  One might think that a child enrolled in an online school might miss out on "first day anxiety, and all that excitement", but they don't, it's still there, and it's a gift to be able to share that with them.  It was fun to watch the kids excitedly chat with each other on the side bar in the virtual class room, while the teacher struggles to get their attention..... there are somethings that never change :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Organize :)

or-gan-ize /awrgeniz/ 1a give an orderly structure to. b  make arrangements for (a person). 2 (often absol.) a enroll (new members) in a labor union, political party, etc. b form (a labor union or other political group). 3  (esp. as organized adj.) make organic; make into a living being or tissue. DK Illustrated Oxford Dictionary

Sometime in the past year (I can't pin point the exact moment) I became that chronically late person, who forgets their own doctor appointments, never calls anyone back, and empties their inbox into the recycling bin.  My kids, on the other hand are never late, always clean & fed, and rarely miss a planned activity.  So it's not like I'm absent minded, my priorities are just very clearly defined (in my mind at least), the kids come first.
With school and fall activities starting, everyone seems to be struggling to "get organized".  After having made myself aware of the formal definition of the word, I'm convinced it's one of the most popularly misunderstood words in an average persons vocabulary.  Being one of those people who thrive on chaos, I'm not sure I'd want to inflict myself with "orderly structure" or "a labor union".  So rather than be organized I'll instead strive to achieve some sort of balance that accommodates all the demands of family, work, and my child's education.
To get this "balancing act" up and rolling, I picked up a salon appointment book from our local beauty supply house. These types of schedule books are very efficient for us, ours has a column for each member of our family.  I know the idea of an actual appointment book sounds old school, but trying to manage four peoples lives on a cell phone just doesn't work for me (just making a phone call with a rambunctious baby on my hip is a challenge)   Next I figured out what can be eliminated from our tight schedule to make room for the new activities that are starting, then I filled in the "etched in stone obligations", and we'll just work on it from there.  Within the next few weeks, I fully expect that each little 15 minute interval of time will fill in, and before I have time to acknowledge that I've achieved a balance, summer will be here again :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Birthday Party Craziness

This year I am going to combine the birthday parties of my two children, I expect this won't go well, but I intend to follow through with my plan anyway.  Why would I do such a thing? it's very simple, I need to preserve my sanity so I'll be able to endure their teen years in a dignified manner.   Planning an event for roughly 50 adults and approximately 35 children is something I only want to do once a year, it's a huge expense (and until I'm halfway through my 4th beer during the party) an enormous headache. 
So we started this planning process by selecting a date, and now we've moved onto trying to agree on a theme, cake, and food.  I really have no say in anything, so I just take notes and "make it happen".  So far I have: a request for a pig roast, no moon bounce. a half asst guest list, a request for a pony cake, moon bounce, and a sushi platter, an Ugly doll theme, and I also have a request that a pig NOT be roasted.
When I think back through all the events we've hosted, It surprises me that I still get overwhelmed, I should have this down to a science by now. I'm also amazed by how much our family has changed, our fantastic collection of friends is growing and out numbering our family members, and many of our family members are crossing over into the Friend category,  the unpleasant ones disappearing from the guest list.  Bringing everyone together to celebrate our children is a big deal for us and I'm looking forward to seeing the event come together :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chick-lets & Zi

Our little girl loves her chickens so much, she's willing to sit out in the rain all afternoon to keep them company.  Zi's BFF chick-let right now is Sophia the Buff Orpington. I feel that chickens have been unfairly labeled as "dumb barn yard" animals, its pretty obvious to me that they make interesting, fun, responsive pets for kids.  Zi's looking forward to sun down so she can tuck them into their nesting boxes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chicklets :) Big News

Napoleon invades
The girls suddenly learned to navigate the porthole to the outside world all by themselves, I can't imagine what I was doing wrong, I must have been going about it all the wrong way :) Or maybe Napoleon is a poultry motivational specialist, I guess we'll never know.......

Chick-lets :) My chickens are "special"

My girls were very excited to see me this morning!  A few of them had figured out how to use the nesting boxes and perches, but some of the slow learners were still huddled together on the floor.  Not one of my little ladies was willing to venture out to the run yesterday.  I made several attempts to help them understand how the little door on the side of the coop works, but they just don't seem to get it.  So this morning I took advantage of their willingness to be snuggled, and walked a few down to the run and set them down.  The six I brought out started doing normal chicken type things immediately, (ya know scratching the ground, flapping wings, pecking at stuff) so I attempted to back slowly out of the enclosure, as soon as they noticed I was leaving, they grouped tightly together and frantically huddled around my ankles.  I stood there for a few minutes wondering what I did wrong, (I had very clearly taken on this project intending to raise strong, independent, confident ladies).  Just as I was about to give in and sit down, Ti-he spotted a bright green grasshopper a few feet away and they were off!  While they were chasing the poor grasshopper around I was able to escape without being noticed.  I'm going to keep an eye on them the rest of the day, I'm worried they won't go back in the coop for water.  There definitely seems to be a pronounced learning curve present in my flock, but overall they all seem to be a bit "special"   (I know because now that the grasshopper is gone they're all huddled together standing in the last place they saw me :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chick-lets :)

For some reason I thought they'd be excited to get out of the little cage and run, I was wrong.
Well they're finally in the coop!  It wasn't easy to convince them to leave the safety of their old familiar cage.  We tried a few different motivational tactics, and then gave up and manually removed them from the old cage one at a time and released them into the run.  They're all in the coop now and I haven't seen any of them venture out into the run this afternoon.  Hopefully they'll acclimate quickly and get out there and stretch those wings!

My girls look so tiny in there.

The new rental rehab project: Before

back porch
out front
The family picked up a new rental property, and it needs ALOT of work! but over all, it's a good solid structure, great location, nice wooded lot. It's defiantly got potential.  These are before renovation but after clean out photos, my father removed approximately 60 pick-up truck loads of garbage out of this house, removed all the wall paper, old carpet and gutted the bathroom before he'd even let me in for photos.
living room
dining room
the gutted bathroom
neat octogon shaped hallway connecting the three bedrooms


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chick-lets :)

It's looking like today's gonna be the day for our girls!  The coop is almost ready for them to move in!  We picked up plastic waterer from Tractor Supply last night, mounted the feeder on the wall, and buried chicken wire fence around the perimeter of the run to keep predators from digging under. They've been out in the fenced in area of our yard in their wire pen for the last few days, Always under the watchful eye of one of our dogs.  Amber refuses to leave her girls, so she's even out over night with them.   I admit that the idea of having them so far from the house is scary, so introducing them to the new coop will be bittersweet. But we know they need more room so we're all looking forward to seeing them enjoy their new home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The fence project: Hell or high water

Between the rain and the humidity I'm not sure how he can stand to be out there, but he's determined to wrap this project up so we can move on to other things. The ponies are happy to have their run back, and the fence looks good.  I have to admire his ability to persevere, and that fabulous short sleeve raincoat/ tool belt ensemble is noteworthy as well.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New pasture fence project:

Oh my... there's always one summer project that turns into a fiasco, and it would seem that this year, the new fence is it.  We're about 40 hours in (over a 10 day period) and haven't really made as much progress as we would have liked.   Stifling heat, down pours and work obligations are going to make this project drag out for another week or so I'm afraid.  Our awesome neighbor came over and drilled some holes for us with this incredible machine (he works for cookies) but then it poured and the holes filled back in before we got the cement poured.  Today we hope to get the holes cleared and all the posts in before it gets to hot.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Holy Shit I Look Old Exfoliating Facial Mask

After seeing some un-doctored photos of myself at a recent photo shoot, I concluded that perhaps it's been a while since I did anything nice for my skin. This mask will literally rip a few years right off your face.  But beware, it's not for people with sensitive or sagging skin, and keep it away from your hairline and eyebrows!  if you spread it too thin it won't peel off nice, so slap it on thick! 

  • mix 2 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin with 2 tablespoons milk
  • microwave for 10 seconds
  • apply to face (avoiding your hairline and eyebrows)
  • let harden for about half an hour, then peel off
  • do not, under any circumstance, answer your door with this stuff on your face (unless its trick or treat night)

Friday, August 6, 2010

What the f@%k am I gonna do with all this ham?

Leftovers are the bane of my existence, they crowd my refrigerator, inhabit all my favorite containers, irritate my husband (he has no place to put beer). I cook constantly so my stove is very seldom cool enough to even wipe off. And oh, did I mention, no one that lives here will eat leftovers! The divas that I cater to will stick up their noses at anything that's been re-heated. So I've had to devise a few ways to disguise "recycled" food. Back to my ham problem, I've already done all the usual things with it, omelets, raviolis, cold sandwiches and I still have a gallon sized zip-lock bag in my freezer. Anyway, so I'm making Ham Croquettes with a side of Cucumber Salad, and whatever is left I'm feeding to Sullivan, our lovely yeti of a Saint Bernard.

Ham Croquettes:

  • 1 lb. finely chopped ham
  • 1 rounded tablespoon each of Onion Onion and Garlic Garlic (Tastefully Simple Seasoning)
  • 1 and a half cups of fresh grated sharp cheddar
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • seasoned bread crumbs

Put bread crumbs one bowl, put everything else in another, mix up ham mixture and pat into balls, roll in bread crumbs, bake at 375 until golden brown, or fry in oil

Cucumber Salad:

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 4oz. light vanilla yogurt
  • 40z. light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon each Onion Onion and Garlic Garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • tablespoon fresh dill

slice cucumber then half slices, combine all ingredients and chill for a few hours before serving

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Chicken Project: Chicklets :)

 The rain let up, so we're back to our outside projects, our girls got to spend a lovely afternoon foraging through the grass for unsuspecting insects.  We moved the whole pen out to the grass next to the side yard so they were visible at all times (predators are an issue here, even when the chicks are in a pen).  Outside play time is important for them, it helps them to gradually acclimate to living outside.  They also had a chance to see their future horsey neighbors. :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

I stopped buying commercially manufactured liquid laundry detergent over a year ago and started making my own.  I did this for a variety of reasons, it's cost effective, safer for my septic system, doesn't generate empty plastic bottles, and most importantly, none of us get a rash from it.  Also I needed a strong detergent I could put in my high efficiency washer that wouldn't destroy my cloth diaper covers.  It looks intimidating, but it takes less time then making soup once you get the hang of it.
  • 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha
  • 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda
  • 1/2 cup borax powder (20 mule team)
  • 2 or 3 gallon bucket
All of those products can be found in the laundry isle of the grocery store.

Start by grating the soap into a sauce pan, add 6 cups of water & heat until the soap melts, add washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved, remove from heat,  pour four cups hot water into the bucket, add soap mixture and stir, add one gallon plus 6 cups water and stir, let it stand 24 hours so it can gel. After it gels you'll need to stir it again before you use it. The finished product won't look like watered down store bought detergent, it will be an opaque, with a thick pea soup consistency.

~Use 1/2 cup per a load, the total yield is about a gallon and a half :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Garage Organization Project: The best Drive by Junking ever!

Our outdoor projects keep getting rained out, we have the chicken coop project almost completed, and the new pasture fence started.  The weather has really been a bummer, but on the up side, the rain left us with an opportunity to take on yet another project......organizing the garage. (Our house is pretty small, so efficiently using the space we have to accommodate our growing family is pretty important).  We were standing around debating our next move, when my dad pulled up with a truck load of salvaged steel shelving (what a coincidence).  These types of visits from my father are lovingly known as "drive by junkings" around here. He used to have this really bad habit of dropping stuff off at our house without asking us first.  The shelf system was removed from a medical office building by my father ( who fortunately for us happens to be in the salvage business). You don't need to have a hook-up in the salvage business to be able to access great finds, the newspaper, craigs list, free-cycle and the Re Place are great resources. We got enough shelving, to set up a new re-cycling station, organize our gear, and we have lots left over for when we get around to conquering the storage room.
what a great surprise!

new recycling area
Setting it up

Zi's 10 dollar big Bag-O-Swag :)

Occasionally I have to share my lovely little diva with the rest of the world.  It makes me sad but it also gives me opportunities to surprise her with fun girly stuff when she returns.  This weekend she spent some time with her grandparents while I shopped for new fall inventory for Mayzi's on-line vintage boutique.  Because Zi is the world's tinniest eco-chic gal out there, everything needs to be recycled, salvaged, and of course very hip. So needless to say, a surprise from her favorite Goodwill store really lights up her face.  For a few bucks her baby brother and I were able to throw together a very cool gift bag.  We filled it with lots of sparkly little girl swag, all very gently used items.  I do the fashionista gift bags for her every chance I get, all of them themed after a different decade of fashion. This little get-up has an 80's new wave theme.  For ten dollars we got a silver metallic tote bag with coin purse, three belts, three braclets, a black fuzzy boa, studded Hello Kitty Tee, Levi's cuffed denim shorts, and a bottle of glitter hand sanitizer with holder.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chick-lets :) R.I.P Sweetie

We lost one of our girls yesterday.  Our Barred Plymouth Rock "Sweetie" was the friendliest of all the chicks, and always had to be first in line to be held.  She will be missed. Losses within the first two weeks are very common, and are very seldom caused by disease, it's the process of natural selection, she just wasn't meant to be. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Beer Can Chicken

It's beer can chicken season! There's really nothing quite like beer can chicken cooked on the grill. It's like a rotisserie chicken that's so juicy it falls off the bone before you can take it off the rack. It can be done in the oven, but it's just not the same. To do this you need: half a can of beer, a beer can chicken rack, and (if you don't want to make a mess out of you grill), an aluminum roasting pan. I use one of the cheap beer can racks and it works fine, but there is many more "elaborate" models available that do the same thing. Every time I make one of these I try a different combination of beer and seasoning, today I used Bud-Light with lime and a rub made of garlic infused oil from Tastefully Simple and Lawry's Seasoned salt. I leave mine on the grill for about two hours on medium high, or until the skin is that nice crispy looking shade of brown and it looks like the meat will fall right off the bone.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New pasture fence project: Napoleon "helps" :)

In this photo is my husband Kevin and our stallion colt Napoleon.  Napoleon is giving Kevin some help taking down the old fence that divides the paddock.  My husband decided to replace about two hundred feet of pasture fence today.  The first step in this project is removing the old wire fence (we will of course recycle the old fence, or save it for future projects).  Next we'll dig some new post holes and pour some concrete for the new posts, then we'll put up the new cross fencing.   This is very exciting because the wood fencing is safer for our horses, and it's prettier :)

Chick-lets :) Meet Stella

This is Stella, she's named after my BFF Stella Artois,  that's a beer (for those of you who don't read my beer page).  Stella is a White Plymouth Rock, and will grow to up to be a large fabulous laying hen.  She's a frisky little thing, and her hobbies include being difficult to catch, and pecking my diamond ring when I do manage to get a hold of her.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chick-lets :) Gretchen and Gretel (the Hamburg sisters)

This little chick is Gretchen, she's the more assertive of the two sisters. She usually hangs real close with Gretel but today she wanted to inspect my camera. Gretchen and Gretel are Golden Speckled Hamburg chicks. They're traditional Pennsylvania Dutch farm birds.  You can see some "big girl" feathers peaking through the baby fluff.