Wednesday, June 30, 2010

KayCee-ism

We took the kids to a wildlife themed park last week and while we were driving there, KayCee decided to act 25 again. This happens a lot, she is the oldest 5 year old on the planet.

So, my sister asks her, "Kay, can you just be 5 and not try to be like 25?"

KayCee replied, "Well, I can I just choose not to."

I'm totally looking forward to her being 16.....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Garden Update







I'm sitting here waiting for the noodles to boil for macaroni salad for dinner, so I thought I would catch you up on the progress of our garden.


 

 Green Beans




Peas




Tomatoes




Eggplant




Cantaloupe
What did the watermelon say to the other watermelon? "Too bad we cantaloupe!"

Hahaha, uh, um, and Lastly:



A blurry picture of the watermelon.

We have other things out there too, but they are in desperate need of weeding so that you can see them. When I get that taken care of, I'll show you.

I hope everyone has a wonderful work week filled with much to do.

Hey, it makes the time go faster that way, right?



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Top 10

Today's Top 10 is....
Why I want to move to a farm.

1) I want to have more chickens. Like 50 of them.

2) I want to raise pigs, not only for us to eat but also to sell.

3) I want my kids to have more room to roam.

4) I want enough room to have the girls' horse at home so they can ride more often.

5) I want an orchard.

6) I want a huge berry patch with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.

7) I want goats, just to look at.

8) I want to be able to project movies on the side of our barn on hot summer nights.

9) I want to be able to say "yes" when the kids want a bunny, or chicken, or another dog, or a sheep.

10) I really, really want my own milk cow. Really.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Day Of Magical Wonderment





Can you feel the excitement? We visited Wildlife Safari for the 800th time yesterday and my kids (as you can see) loved every minute of it. It amazes me that no matter how many times we go up there, they are just as interested and excited to see the animals every time. They are getting to the point though where they are naming some of them.

I wanted to make sure you all got a good look at some of the animals so here we go; first up-Ducks



Turtles:



Buffalo:



There were Bears, Monkeys and Elk:







Wait! Those weren't monkeys, those were my children! Although it looks like the one on the left has had a monkey sucking on her hair...

This next picture is probably the single best zebra picture I have ever seen. This thing just stood perfectly still and let us get really close. I love it so much, I might frame it!



Hey, you convince my 3 year old her little people aren't real. You'll have to get back to me and tell me how that goes.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lainee-ism

Yesterday afternoon we were sitting in the living room shooting the breeze with my dad when I spied something gray sticking out of her nose.

All the kids had been sick, so my first thought was that this was some kind of mutant snot- maybe she wasn't feeling good again and was having some nasal issues.

I asked, "Jo, what's that in your nose?" I fully expected her to tell me it was a booger. That's the kinda kid she is.

Instead she replied, "That's paper. I've been putting it up there all day." It was so conversational that it took me a minute to really get what she said.

The best part? She never even looked away from the cartoons she was watching.

We blew her nose and a wad of paper the size of a large marble came out.

At least she didn't lie and tell me the babies did it.....

Summertime




Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Can't See The Forest For The Trees






We live in an older home with a very large area of roof. This means that in the winter, we benefit from having a roof line that absorbs heat into our attic and helps to insulate our house for the colder months.
The downside of that is the summer. It absolutely swelters in the second story in the warmer months. We have taken some steps to help alleviate it a bit, like adding an attic fan that comes on when the attic reaches a certain temperature.

Yesterday we took it one step farther and looked at little more long term. We bought four beautiful treas to put in our lawn.

Three of these we planted down our fence between the garden and the house, and one is a  very decorative tree that will help shade our porch and front windows from the afternoon sun.



This is the first one we planted, it's called "Crimson King" maple. It will have these beautiful maroon/burgandy leaves all summer and turn purple in the fall. It grows rapidly and we hope to reap the benefits of having it in the next few years.

Next we planted two of these:




They are called "Emerald Queen" maples. I have seen them on the Internet referred to as Norway Maples as well.

They are a little taller than the purple tree and already have a fuller canopy. They look very tight here because they were smashed together at the nursery and the limbs were all pointing upwards to compete for the sun. Already this morning they have relaxed and are pointing more outwards.
In the fall this one turns the most amazing bright gold. We are also happy because just by chance, all of the trees we chose attract birds for nesting. We have a large population of birds around here and since the feeding of them is monopolized by our neighbors, this may work out well for everyone.

And last, but not least, our little ornamental tree:


"Galaxy" Magnolia

This one is a little smaller and will never provide the mass amounts of shade that the maples will, but it will do well to shade our porch in the afternoons.
And let's face it, at this point I will take all the shade I can get!

So there they are, four trees for our four girls. One showy and bright, one flowery and demands attention and two that are sturdy and nearly identical.

So that brings our grand total number of trees to 9 in our yard. Someday, someone who will live here will thank us for it.


Leftovers are Our Friend






This was our dinner last night. I got the recipe over at Chickens In The Road and thought that they looked delicious.

My family thought they were really good, so I wanted to pass them on to you because they are such a good use for leftovers.

Georgia's Easy Lunch Rolls


Recipe:
Approximately 1 dozen rolls
1/2 pound sliced or shredded meat
1/2 pound sliced or shredded cheese
1 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon dried onion
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (or hot pepper butter)

As you can see from the ingredients list, there is a lot of wiggle room in this recipe. Use what you have, improvise and make it work. Aren't those usually the best recipes anyway? I can just see a lot of different combinations of meat/cheese/butter deliciousness happening.

OK, let's get cookin'. Melt the butter, onion, worcestershire sauce and mustard. I didn't have any worcestershire sauce, so I left it out this time. I had to use onion powder because I was out of dried (I used it up in hamburger buns). I also had a small sample-sized jar of onion and pepper relish hanging around, so I threw that in there too.


 

Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non stick spray. Split the rolls and put the bottoms in the pan:



I squished 15 into this pan because I had made a double batch for Father's Day and this is what we had leftover. I thought it worked out just fine.



Next, you layer on the cheese. I used a pepper jack/Monteray jack combo. I would have used a cheddar for better color contrast, but I didn't have any. I'm being frugal and using what's in the fridge. Plus, I'm using chicken and I thought it would be good.

 

Spread on your meat of choice,



And drizzle on 1/3 of the butter mixture.


Pop the tops back on these little babies and pour the rest of the butter mixture on. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Now, she said that she doesn't always do this and I can see how it would be fine. I think you would get the same flavor either way. I made mine in the morning and left them in the fridge until dinner.

When you are ready to eat, put them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

This was a very simple recipe, very tasty, kid tested and approved and best of all, it uses up leftovers. That little bit of chicken or roast can become something substantial and filling! That makes me and my budget happy.



Monday, June 21, 2010

Recipes!!!

The long promised recipes are finally here!

Brownies
Courtesy of Teresa Giesbrecht

Melt together:

2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup cocoa

Stir in:

2 cups sugar
4 eggs (1 at a time)

Add:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts

Pour into a 9x13 inch pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.


Blondies
Adapted from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook
(they call these Butterscotch bars)

1/2 cup shortening
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 9x13 inch pan with shortening.

Melt shortening in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in the brown sugar and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread in the pan.

Bake 25 minutes. Cool slightly in a pan on a wire rack. Cut into 2 inch squares while warm.









Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cooke Cooks





I thought I would share our Father's Day meal with you all, and invite you to share what you had as well.
It also is going to usher in a whole week of cooking posts, starting with tomorrow's Minty Grasshopper Pie.
You get a sneak peak of that today! If only you all could have had a little slice as well....
Ah, well, you can get the recipe and make it next week.

Today we had corn:




And we had yeast rolls:




And they had honey butter on them.
And then there was the steak:



The whole plate:




I didn't include a picture of the mashed potatoes because they are from a box.
That's right, I said it.
From. A. Box.
But, hey, they are his all time favorite and who am I to tell him what he can't have on Father's Day?

To finish things off, we had this:




Minty Grasshopper Pie.
The picture does not do it justice.
So good, so chocolate-y, so minty, so refreshing.
We loved it because it was such a nice change from the regular cake dessert that is usually the norm around here.
 I love chocolate. But chocolate and MINT, now that's just special.

I hope you all had a wonderful day, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the pie recipe.
oh, and I finally will have the Blondie and Brownie recipes too!



Happy Father's Day

I wish everyone out there a very Happy Father's Day. Take the time to make dad something special today, whether it be a card, a meal or a memory.

Join me tomorrow for pictures of our Father's Day meal!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day Weekend

What are your plans for yourself, your father, husband, brother or whatever man you are going to be celebrating this year?

I'm not sure exactly what we are doing yet, but I'm sure it will involve yard work and lots of great food.

Since I will be cooking a lot this weekend I'm going to guess that I'm going to be too busy to get much up on here. But next week, oh next week you better look out. There will be blog posts galore.

And some of them will involve food. Possibly grasshopper pie. Maybe homemade hamburger buns. And I feel the need for cheesecake. I'll have a lot of hungry people around here to feed, I better do it right.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend enjoying the ones they love.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where The Green Grass Grows

My kids also grow.




This picture was taken exactly one year ago today. The twins were almost two.

They hated the grass and didn't like to be on it so they always had to be on a blanket.










These were taken at different times last week. And yes, I see that the same shirt is in these pictures. But it's in a different place, on a different kid and it's on another day. They just like it a lot. 

 As you can see, they now love the grass. They love to be outside, to play, to get dirty, to run and jump and roll on the ground.

What a difference one year makes.

Just wait until their birthday rolls around and I post their NICU pictures alongside their recent ones. You will not believe how tiny they were.


And now they are big.

Please excuse me while I cry my eyes out.





Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sickness Is Stalking Us


It's in our midst. It found a victim.


 This poor baby of mine was so sick, so hot and so uncomfortable last night that I had to make a high speed run to the big city in the wee hours of the morning to get her medicine

We have had our share of sicknesses around here, I mean we have four kids, sickness is unavoidable.

But this. This was like super sickness. This was the sickness that struck fear in my heart. This almost landed us in the ER.

She was so hot, so red, and so lethargic.

And it just wouldn't go away.

So, even thought I had gotten up at 5:30 yesterday morning, I stayed up with her all night because she didn't sleep. Not one wink. She wanted to talk about how good the banana she just ate was though. She hadn't eaten a banana. Scary. This is what prompted the run for new medicine.

She needed something stronger.

The good news, she is resting comfortably.

The bad news, I don't get to go to sleep for hours.

 The good news far outweighs the bad. 

I'd even go so far as to say I'd do it again.

And I'm sure I will.

Gladly.





  



Monday, June 14, 2010

"Deck"orating




This is what I started with this morning. A nice clean deck.




As you can see it was a b-i-g project. And I had to keep the kids off of it while I was staining it.
Prior to this, the right side of the deck had been stained a dark grey. I had to strip that off a few nights ago and then wait for the rain to give us a break so I could get the wood to dry.




Considering it's three years old and was previously gray, I'd say the wood got pretty clean.




Here it is about halfway done. I still have to do some of the pergola and the rest of the deck itself. It got so warm that the wood was just soaking up the stain as fast as I was putting it down, so I took a break until this evening.

As you can see it was a big job, but I'm glad we had one of these to help me out:




My very own "deck"hand!

I'll post final pictures as soon as we get it done because I know you are all dying to see it finished.



Busy, Busy Bees

Hey everyone we are super busy around here today. I got up at 5:30 this morning and tackled all the weeds in my garden and gave everything a big drink. Now we are getting ready to start staining the deck! I am so excited it looks so nice and I can't wait to start using it.

I'll post before and after pictures and some progress pictures along the way today.

Have a wonderful Monday, I hope yours is as busy as ours!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Top 10 Things.....

Top 10 Things I Use Most in The Kitchen

1) COOKBOOKS! many, many cookbooks!

2) My Kitchen Aid Mixer. Could not live without it.

3) My set of glass mixing bowls. All the different sizes come in so handy.

4) Wooden Spoons- love, Love, LOVE a wooden spoon

5) Spoodles- this is what we call them, other people call them spatulas. But they are more than that, they are like a cross between a spatula and a spoon.

6) Spring form Pans- good for so much more than cheesecake. Use them for mousse type desserts, bake brownies in them, even things like pull apart bread work so well in them.

7) Pyrex measuring cups- all sizes, I even have an 8 cup one that I mix batters in.

8) Stacking cooling racks- these are amazing and were given to me as a gift. They save so much counter space!

9) Pizza stone- Bake pizza, bread rolls and so much more better by simply keeping one of these in your oven.

10) Kitchen towels- I cannot say enough about having a good supply of kitchen towels on hand. They work as potholders, wipe up messes, clean faces and make boo-boo's feel better.

Now how about you, what is your favorite kitchen items?

Cookbooks



Today I want to share with you my favorite cookbooks. I have about 50 cookbooks, and I use all of them for something. Some are strictly bread, some are pastry, or only savory. There are also grilling, vegetarian and cast iron cooking.

BUT I have what I lovingly refer to as "the green one", "the family one" and "the old one".

Here they are:




Don't they look USED?

Look at this poor cookbook,




It is literally falling apart. But that's OK, I can handle that.



This page gets used a lot. Delicious pancakes are indeed, delicious.




I use the brownie recipe quite frequently! Can you tell from the cocoa smeared on the page???




There they are, my lovelies. If our house burned down these would be the one item (BESIDES my kids) that I would take out of my house. I love them so much I would walk through flames for them.
Seriously.
I would.

I will be posting more of the cookbooks that I use later this month, there are just to many that I "like" to do all in one post!!!!

Do you have a cookbook you couldn't live without?

Tell me about them!




Thursday, June 10, 2010

Top 10

This time it's going to be:

Top 10 Foods I Hate.

This should be fun!

1) Blue Cheese- My all time most disliked food item. I would probably eat steak before I ate Blue Cheese.

2) Teriyaki anything. I used to like it now I just cant stand to eat it.

3) Cooked green bell peppers.

4) Soy Sauce.

5) Steak and pork. Only exception is bacon.

6) Kalamata olives

7) Anchovies

8) Anything spiced with turmeric

9) Ground turkey - gross on so many levels

10) SOY MILK

Next up- Top 10 Things I use The Most In The Kitchen

How does YOUR garden grow?

My poor, soggy garden. All this rain is starting to be a bit ridiculous.

We waited to plant our garden quite a bit later this year because our garden spot was a giant mud bog.

Great for kids and dogs, bad for seeds and little plants.

I did take some pictures though, on Sunday. We had a little break in the rain and I took full advantage of it.

For your viewing pleasure, my peas:



Looking good.


How about tomatoes?




This is actually "Brandywine" tomatoes, eggplant and paprika peppers.



The black plastic is very distracting in this picture. My kids had been using it as a slip-n-slide the day before so that doesn't help either.

These are Roma, "Early Girl", "Sungold" and "Big Beef" tomatoes.

I still have to buy a red and a yellow cherry tomato for salad use.

The one thing that is doing amazingly well in all this rain, though, are these:




They are loving the cool, wet days.

We also have pumpkins, zucchini, watermelons and cantaloupes in the ground.

We have yet to plant corn, cucumbers (pickling ans slicing), lettuce, carrots, radishes, spring onions, spinach, banana peppers and jalapenos.

Also going to (hopefully) go in this weekend are the herbs. 

It's a late garden year, unless you have a greenhouse. Several people we have talked to have had to re plant their whole garden due to the seeds rotting.

Welcome to Oregon, land of Spring all year round.

At least it seems like it this year.....