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!