Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Some projects

Greetings on this snowy day! 
I woke up this morning, looked out the window and couldn't even see our barn, with the snow and fog.  So I went back to bed.  The boys and I slept in and took our time in the morning, assuming no school.  Around 8:30 I decided I better check just to make sure they were closed.  But no, everything was on time!  Oh, boys!  let's eat breakfast, you have school today :)  It's called the Gingrich 2-hour delay.   Now that i'm home I discover I need to pick them up at 12:30 for their early dismissal.  Oh well, the day counts.  All 3 hours of it. 

Instead of moping around this winter, wishing for spring like I normally do, I decided to work on a few fun projects indoors.  It's hard for me to get motivated this time of year, but it feels good to have things going. 

I haven't crocheted for a couple years, I am starting a blanket.  It's super soft.  And will take forever to finish, if I do happen to finish it!  It might end up being a scarf. 

Growing mushrooms in the bedroom....on purpose!  Our room is cool and dark, perfect for growing these puppies.  So exciting to watch the progress.  I bought a 5 lb. bag of sawdust spawn and mixed it in with straw.  3 weeks later, this is what it looks like.  This is an Oyster mushroom.

Our beef roasts aren't the greatest, very tough meat.  So I either can the meat or make jerky out of it.  This is a batch of homemade beef jerky.  I know it look like a pile of poo, but it's so good.  Seasoned with soy sauce, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, onion powder, etc.  It makes for a great snack.  I do it in our dehydrator, but the oven works well too.  The key is to slice the meat very thin, to give it that crispiness.  It works best to cut it when it's still mostly frozen.

I love doing Valentines with the boys.  They have small class sizes which is sooo nice, I get on pinterest and pick out ones that I find doable, then let them pick.  A couple of these they did last year.  The "bombs" are new, and so fun. 

My mom is the best book picker-outer.  She gave the boys these books for Christmas and we're reading through them together this winter.  We're ready to start the Ben Carson Story. 

I'm also reading a few devotionals.  The one in the middle is a study Rod and I are doing with another couple who asked us to mentor them (humbling!)  So far, really enjoying this workbook, by Joel Comisky.  A friend gave me the book on the right. 
Started up some seeds last week in soil.  Sunflowers, cabbage, swiss chard, and I can't remember what else.  

We've kept lettuce going all winter in the greenhouse, using the hydroponics.  The latest planting I added basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale in addition to the lettuce. 

This was a fun project.  I went back over pictures from our house over the last 10 years and put them in a photobook.  It was neat to see the changes, projects and events that has taken place here.  God has been so good and gracious to us!  It was a good reminder of his protection and faithfulness. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

snow, etc.

It was a doozy!

2+ feet of snow hit our area last weekend, along with wind and drifting.  Our church was cancelled for the first time in the 14 years I've been going there!

Saturday night Rod took the boys out snowmobiling on the roads - you couldn't go in the fields without getting stuck - they loved saying that they were on the 30 bypass on snowmobile.  Now, over a week later it's melted down to a reasonable amount and snow and they can snowmobile in fields and yards. 

It took the goats awhile to warm up to this stuff.  The dog loved it at first snowflake

Supposing it'll melt this week with upper 40's - 50's in the forecast.  sounds good to me! 

The boys were so ready to get back to school.  We had to do 4 consecutive school days at home.  Which, to a homeschool mom is nothing.  But to this part-time home school mom of 4 stir-crazy boys, it was torture.  In fact, the one day I said forget homeschool, we're going bowling!  Thankfully, this week is back to normal and we can all have that healthy space from each other. 

Over the weekend Brad was chosen as one of the Lancaster Newspaper Contest winners.  All area elementary schools can participate in either a writing or drawing contest.  Brad designed an ad for Stauffer's of Kissel Hill.  Almost 2,000 students participated in one way or another, (either writing or drawing) and Brad was one of about 30 selected!  It was exciting for him.  He got a $20 cash prize, a $20 gift card to Stauffer's, and will be in the newspaper on March 9th.  Thank you daddy for your creative input into the project!

This month, February, is a little more active then usual.  I'm hoping that means it'll go by quicker :)  A trip to MA, sleepovers for the boys, hockey game, school parties, and church things are on the agenda.  Hoping the boys stay healthy.  It's often this time of year where their bodies realize they aren't getting their vitamin D!  I don't know, does that even make them sick?  Who knows.  But we're thankful for an overall good winter.  Just some sore throats and low-grade fever here and there. 

I'll leave you with a recipe our family enjoys.  Sweet and Sour chicken, just like the Chinese restaurants serve....without the MSG!  I'm sure you can substitute honey for the sugar, but hey, we do sugar. 

Sweet & Sour chicken
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt & pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup oil

sweet & sour sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 T ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat over to 325.  Cut the chicken into cubes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat, then dip into the eggs.  Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken until browned but not cooked through.  Place chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish.  Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken.  Bake for one hour and during the baking process turn chicken every 15 minutes.  

*I don't need to bake it that long, just keep an eye on it.
*serve with rice
*it's delicious, enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Well Happy New Year!  I haven't posted for a long time, funny how fast life moves as the boys get older.  Our year ended with a family trip to Cancun for a week right before Christmas.  I loved watching the boys experience their first plane ride (B and B did fly when they were 3), and doing new things at the place we stayed.  It was family friendly, lots of activities were offered throughout the day.  The boys are at a great age where they do things on their own but they still want to be with us.  It was a memorable family time, that I don't think can be topped! 
But of course we had to come home and get back into the swing of things.  We had 3 back to back to back family Christmas gatherings after arriving home, and the boys started back to school last week.  Tomorrow is their halfway point through the school year!  The first half always goes faster then the 2nd half!  :)  The twins are working hard at reading and I believe are making progress.  There was a little bit of talk between the principal, teacher, and I about them repeating a grade, to give them time to catch on with reading but I don't think we'll need to.  I am kicking myself a little for not starting them a year later, since they are boys (couldn't care less about school) and technically summer babies (if they had come on their due date).  But their teacher is a tremendous blessing and came up with a special plan to get them reading better.  They are so smart in other subjects, but since it takes reading to do everything, it's been a hindrance to them. 

An older friend at church gave the boys a pair of stilts he had and wanted to pass them on.  I, for the life of me, cannot do them!  The boys can all do them now.  It took some awkward falls and determination to get there!
Ben had no problem from the get-go. 
Clay's mission in life is to keep up with his brothers.  And he does
and here comes the awkward fall
2 weeks ago we brought a puppy home from Rod's uncle's farm.  The plan was to play with her for a weekend and either find her a home or take it back.  There for a while we had 2 families who were interested and then both decided not to take her.  And well, she's been here ever since!  She was the furriest one in the litter and the boys named her "Fuzz".  As long as she cooperates I think daddy will let her stay. 
Seems to make a good outdoor farm dog
She's part Lab, German Shepherd, Blue Heeler, and Keeshond.  This week she turned 9 weeks.
Yesterday we did the farm show for the day, as has been our annual thing.  It was the farm show's 100th anniversary.  I was expecting some extra things due to that, but 3 of our favorite things weren't even there this year.  Still plenty of things to do and see...and eat.  The boys did the pedal tractor pull which was fun and later we watched horse racing in the big arena. 

Earlier this week we went to visit with my Grandma, since we missed seeing her at the Christmas gathering.  She was in great shape that day - for a 94 year old.  I'm so glad we went.  Clay played his guitar for her, and she paid him with her BINGO earnings! 
I'm happy with this warmer winter so far, but the boys are really wanting snow.  The other evening we got a dusting and you should have seen them!  You would have thought they won the powerball jackpot that everyone is talking about.  I do hope we get one good snow for their sake.  

Have a good weekend

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Last Thursday was such a pretty Thanksgiving Day.  We left the house early and went down to the Christian camp where we had our 5K/Kid's run.  A lot of my mom's side of the family participates in this so it's a fun tradition that we started last year. 
Kid's Run finishers:
Brad ran the 5K with me and he did a great job.  His time was 31:12. 
Me and my cousins.  Can't believe we are all "runners" now!   Next year we are taking the picture BEFORE we run! 

After mom's wonderful lunch and eating our homegrown turkey, we went outside to do some shooting. 
Dad shooting a gun is even scarier then Clay shooting a gun, just to give you an idea.
Adam turned 10 before Thanksgiving and wanted a light saber cake, which is a surprise to no one who is around this boy.  So proud of him and his growth in so many areas.  He's a swell little man who really loves life.
Last Sunday Rod was given tickets to the Eagles game and took the birthday boy with him.  What a special birthday treat for Adam.  I know he will remember that day for the rest of his life.  Going to the game was something new for daddy too.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Well i haven't posted for a while!  Everything is going well here, i'm slowly having less and less work to do outside.  I stopped watering my mums, nothing's in the garden anymore, no weeding, and most of our animals are in the freezer!  I miss being out in the warm sun but i will enjoy a break from outside tasks (at least for a month or so).

I do still have my greenhouse and no matter how cold it is outside, if the sun is out it's guaranteed to be nice and toasty inside there.  We're still getting cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, lettuce, and figs.  I'll plan to keep after things until January then take a couple months off from it.  It costs too much to heat it and with the lack of daylight hours, it takes a long, long time for anything to grow regardless of how warm we'd keep it.

We have an exciting weekend ahead.  Adam turns 10!  We also have an annual Men's Breakfast/clay pigeon shoot here at our house on Saturday.  There's typically close to 60 men that show up for part or all of this day.  Also Rod and Adam are going to an Eagles game on Sunday, a first for both of them.  Adam is very excited for his birthday weekend.  I believe i promised him Chuck E. Cheese somewhere in there too!

So that's a little glimpse of us here lately.  I've been making a lot of new recipes too that someday i'd like to get around to posting!

Have a great one, Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

day-to-day stuff

Since i should be getting other things done, it makes sense for me to be on here, chatting about our lives.  haha.  I am feeling caught up on big projects so i am justifying it.

Just wanted to share some of our routine and things we are enjoying right now.

Clay is doing tremendous with school.  I literally went into the year with him with NO idea how he'd handle school.  I didn't work with him nearly as much as i did with the other boys.  I think he learned the alphabet song somewhere along the way, but that was about it.  So to see him doing so well, and enjoying the work of learning is beyond words!

The older 3 really like school too, have good friends, a good routine, but do struggle with reading.  Their reading support teacher has showed some recent frustration with B & B's reading skills.  I have some frustration too, but a different kind.  Like why are they expecting so much out of kids these days!  But i get it.  They need to catch up.  I'm just so proud of the things they do well.  Things that don't show up in a classroom.  At least not in this country, or in this century.

I've been wanting to share the devotional i've been doing with the boys.  I love it!  I've tried out many devo's with them and this one really hits the spot.  The daily lesson is not long, but it opens the door for questions and thinking.  They can always relate.  I recommend it if you are looking.  Perfect for their ages (5-9).  Over the summer we went through the Lord's Prayer, every day it broke down a portion of the scripture and talked about what it meant.  Very practical stuff in here.

This is Brad's year to train with me for a 5K.  We'll do the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  He can run for miles and miles.  But not real fast.  I don't plan to push him, the goal is to finish without walking and not come in last :)   I've been running on my own 2-3 times a week for a couple months.  I took a long break over the spring and summer.  It feels so good for me to run.  I actually think i'm addicted to it.  If i go 3 days without running i get low on energy and foggy in the head.  I love what it does for me.  And if my legs get toned in the meantime, so be it.

The boys had a half day of school today so we went up to Chiques Rock and did a hike and enjoyed the beautiful leaves.  They are just gorgeous right now.

If you made it to the end of this post, it's your lucky day.  I have a recipe that you will like!  It's from Pioneer Woman, i just love her recipes.  This was our supper tonight and it was very good.

November is almost here, I love this addition to the barn.  It's very fall-like, but maybe i'll keep it up all year round :)   Nah, probably not.
The boys sold lots of popcorn this year, they made over $50 all together.  Now the rest of the cobs aren't real pretty, so we'll keep those or give them away.  Hit us up next year for some popcorn, it's a fun experience and makes a neat gift!

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a blessed week!