Saturday, October 8, 2011

15 years

I was talking to my mom the other night, and she asked me about our anniversary. Did we go out? What did we do? Then what, etc. She declared that I should go write a blog post about it since I haven't written in so long and she liked the story...

15 years. It's a big deal. Woop woop, and I say that in my most sarcastic way possible. I know it's a big deal but it's not a big deal. It's just us, silly people, still, yep still here. So off we go (now able to leave our chitlens home ALONE, ) the oldest ones do a fine job of watching the little ones. They also do a fine job of making mac-n-cheese and sort of cleaning up the kitchen too. Let's just say, since we discovered leaving them home ALONE, life has been maaaavalus. Allowing us to go on dates like never before, mostly just getting out of the house, going to my sister's to hang out or just out for a quick bite or a drive...spending alone time for us and for the kids has been a huge bonus.

I decided to put on a skirt for our date. After all it was our anniversary. I told the kids that if they behaved well that day I'd let papa take me out to a movie and dinner. I'm not a huge movie buff and feel like generally they're a waste of a good date since you can't talk. But I digress. We left the house with an hour before the movie began. Hubby couldn't find jeans with out a hole so we headed to Freddys to pick up his annual 2 pairs of black jeans. We found them and I wandered over to the women's clothing section finding some super awesome things that I had to have. When he found me he asked for the time, it was 7:15 and the movie started at 7:25. He gasped and we rushed up to the register. I didn't gasp 'cause I don't really care if we miss previews. After we purchased our clothes I asked him if he wanted to change, he gasped again, No! We're LATE! So off we went.

In the car he decided to try to understand how my brain worked when it came to time sensitivity and he was really trying to wrap his head around how I just don't really care about being late...the conversation didn't get far as the theater is close, but I don't think he'll ever understand.

At the theater (our new big totally awesome one in town) we got there mostly on-time/late-ish depending on who you ask and stood in line for our snacks. I got my popcorn and he got his hot dog, pretty normal for us. He insisted that I go in since he still had to doll up his dog. I sat down in the lit theater with the local commercials playing.

He came in to sit down but accidentally dropped his hot dog onto the floor. "Oh no!" I said, "your hot dog!"

"Oh no!" He said, "My new pants, they have mustard all over them."

This is where my mom asked how he got his new pants on...well, he changed in the car while I drove to the theater.

I assured him his pants would be fine and we could wipe it right off and they'd wash. But your poor hot dog, that can't be saved! He left to get another hot dog, he came back and sat down and ate it.

Him: "What time is it?" Me: "7:45" Him: "What?! I wonder if they know that the movie hasn't started..." Me: "Well, go ask them." He did, so then they started it. But I had to agree with the lady down the row from us who said, "where do we have to go?" I said, "yeah, where? We have a babysitter."

About 15 minutes into the movie the fire alarm started going off, not in the movie we were watching, but in our theater. So the lights automatically turned on, the movie shut off and we left. False alarm. Go back sit down for 5 minutes, still no movie...oh! the movie is back on...not where it shut off and with no sound. Nice. 5 minutes later an employee came in on her walkie talkie telling someone how we had no sound. And then she passed out free movie tickets to everyone...SCORE. 5 minutes later the sound came back on. Did they press their little rewind button and rewind the last 15 minutes of the movie for us? Of course not.

We left the theater at 10:05. Most restaurants in our town close at 10pm on weeknights. So he said, "lets go to the 24 hour diner." Hmm, diner on our anniversary...not much of a choice at this point. We got a pizza (note: try to avoid diner pizza, diners make good eggs, not pizza), he bought me flowers and we went home.

I love my life. I get frustrated with myself, with my emotions, with the constant list of tasks, but when it boils down to it it's a wonderful life and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

My man and me about 15 years ago.

Too much.

Do you ever have a day where you say, enough!
Do you ever have a time when you want to scream?
Do you ever have a child you want to tickle?
Do you ever have a week when you can't breathe?
Do you ever just need another glass of water?
Do you ever have emotions you want to punch?
Do you ever want to hide in your car?
Do you ever need something but you don't really know what?
Do you ever act like a zombie and hope that everyone will stop talking to you if you sit very still?

Yes, mother, I'm fine.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Much Ado about Broccoli

Yes I grow a garden but the big secret is that I really am not a huge vegetable lover.

If I had to pick a favorite it might be broccoli, and for this reason only...it's amazing with bacon.

Really what veggie is not great with it? What food can go wrong with bacon? Well none really. But I happen to know two easy and yummy recipes that are great with broccoli and bacon.

'Tis the season for fresh broccoli and sometimes a plethora that you might not know what to do with. Blanch and freeze the extra and then use the casserole recipe below during the winter months. Make the salad today, you won't be sorry...but find some friends to share it with 'cause you have to show off to someone and besides, the leftovers aren't good.

Broccoli salad, serves 8-12 as a side dish

~ 4 cups broccoli cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup low salt peanuts or other nuts
bacon- 8 ish pieces fried and cut or cut and fried or bacos or smoked salmon (guessing this would work fine)
1/2 cup chopped green onions or red onions or no onion
-I like to make this salad usually the day before so I don't mix any ingredients I just put them into baggies and set them in my bowl 'till it's time to eat, this gets soggy quickly-

dressing
1 cup mayo or Veginaise
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins, crasins, dried apricots (or grapes cut in half but I wouldn't add those to dressing)
2 T vinegar
mix well, chill for about an hour before eating

The first ingredient listed if there are options are normally what I use but I have tried others and are just as good. I think the flavor balance is there if you try the other things.

My favorite cooked broccoli dish:

Broccoli casserole (can use cauliflower)

9x13 pan size about one layer of broccoli or cauliflower, steam veggie 'till almost done, put back into 9x13
Mix up 1 cup mayo and about 2T mustard in a bowl, spread over veggies
Grate cheese to cover
Fry bacon and cut up sprinkle on top (I have used smoked salmon, also very good flavor)
Bake @ 350 for about 20 minutes, take to potluck, your food will be gone first.



Monday, June 27, 2011

"Farmers" goat cheese

With our plethora of milk that we had last summer, this is the basic recipe we like in our house.

1 - 2 gallons of milk
Heat to hot, ~180F (some say to boil, doesn’t really seem to matter)

Stir to keep from scalding milk.
Turn off heat.

Add 1/4 white vinegar per gallon. Stir and let sit 5 minutes.
Pour curds & whey into a colander lined with a fine mesh linen, thin dishtowel, doubled up cheese cloth, muslin, thin pillow case, etc.

(I put another pot under the colander to collect the whey for the chickens.)
Drain, stir in salt to taste. Fresh or dry herbs to your liking.
Can either twist cloth around and hang up to drip dry for the day. (This usually makes a spreadable cheese.)

...or we made a make-shift cheese press and press it into a rectangle mold in the refrigerator. (this makes for a cheese you can cut into pieces.)
Wrap up and refrigerate that night if drip dried.
 or if put it to press in the fridge, cut into chunks and wrap blocks the next day.

My favorite way to eat this is plain cheese on crackers with a piece of smoked salmon. Delish!



Saturday, June 25, 2011

random

Do anybody elses kids call umbrellas "bumbershoots"? This is a new thing...but it's consistent.

I heard a yell, "MAMA". and my oldest brought my youngest into my office and her sad dirty face looking up guiltily holding a giant salmon fillet (cooked) in her hand eating it..."Do you want fish?" I ask (it's almost bedtime). She nods her head. "Ok, yes you may." I say.

I'm building a one-bale-of-hay holder for my kid goats. It's fun, I'm almost finished. I like that I'm getting better and faster at building things.

My neighbor came over about a 1/2 hour ago and took his tractor disc to a small part in our field so I can have a big-ish potato patch. It's late in the game for potatoes, but I started late last year and they did fine. It's nice and big.

13-year-olds

help me, please, someone help...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beergarita season

Beergaritas are a new-ish invention as far as I know. It sounds very redneck but we don't mind. In fact we like them so much we think you other rednecks and non-rednecks alike will like it too.

Beergarita ® Ingredients


■3-4 12 oz. beers (a light Mexican beer is best, like Corona)

■12 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate (do not add water like the can says to, that's what booze is for, also can use lemonade concentrate in a pinch)

■12 oz. Tequila, white (Use limeade container as a fancy measuring device)

■1 Lime cut 8 ways (or not)

■1/2 Cup Salt (optional but yumolicious)

■5 Cups of Ice (um, ok, who measures ice?)

Beergarita ® Mixing Instructions

■Mix frozen limeade concentrate, beer, and tequila in a pitcher

■Add salt to glass rim of your glass (if you want, we don't normally)

■Fill glass with ice, poor drink

■Garnish with 2 lime wedges (optional)

This recipe is good for 4-6 people.

Did I mention that it's super delish and I love it?!

My new favorite way to drink a beergarita. In a jug, er jar.

A moment in time

Wanting to capture every precious moment of what my kids do, I still don't do it. I have a blog, therefore I'll write some of it here.

Youngest is developing her personality quite a bit lately...lots of words being said, lots of stealing of other people's food and lots of fits...

...however.

When she pets the dog on the porch she says over and over, "who's gonna miss you when I'm gone? who's gonna miss you when I'm gone? who's gonna miss you when I'm gone?" and the dog enjoys the attention.

When she "plays" with the baby goats she grabs their collar and yanks them where she likes and chases them with wooden stakes and sometimes hits them....then she gets in trouble.

She bites 2nd youngest if she makes her mad.

When I come home she runs to me and says, "mama, you came home! I missed you!"

She goes outside and gets dirty, every time. She sneaks out even, she loves it out there.

When we have any milk left from the goat's milk bottle she'll drink it if we aren't watching.

Last year she'd sneak into the chicken coop and this year she sneaks into the doe's pen even though they are 3x her size. She loves to hang out with them.

2 days ago I was on the phone and looked outside. She'd gotten out of the bath and gone out and was chasing chickens...naked...on the side of the fence with a VERY good view for the neighbors and all of their kids.

Last night we went to our friend's goat farm. She has many many goats. We discovered she really enjoys going up to each doe and pinching her teat. Not sure if it's to piss her off or to try to milk her. Either way it's funny.

She gets in my bed early early in the morning and snuggles with me and says, "I love you mama."

She wakes me up later and says, "Mama, it's morning, I have to go potty, you have to make me cereal."

We leave my sister's house and she says, "I had so much fun at Aunt B's house."

She drives me crazy. She loves life. She loves animals. She loves me. I love her.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Have summer herbs? Try this.

Here's an inexpensive but tasty meal you're family should like, I got it from Martha a few years ago from a cute Brazilian lady who worked on her show.

I got a beautiful bunch  of cilantro from my friend's greenhouse yesterday and had to make this today. I was going to use the black beans I'd canned up this winter but much to my chagrin I had only pintos canned. Oh well. Guess what? Pintos are just as good cooked this way. I used 3 quart jars so I didn't have to soak the dry beans. So easy!

I served it over my white rice recipe which the same cute Brazilian lady made on Martha's show that day. I'll post that as well.

Brazilian Black Beans

1 lb dried black beans

4 medium beets, scrubbed (I never add these except for when i have them, I've realized this is probably an economical method for cooking beets since you're already cooking the beans and they had some red color.)

Combine beans and Beets. Add enough water to cover but 1/2 inch, about 8 cups. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until beets are tender, 40-60 min. Remove beets and cook beans 'till tender, 1-2 hrs more. Peel beets when cool and use as desired. (I have a honeyed beets recipe if you want that)

Towards the end of beans cooking:

2 TBS minced garlic

4 1/2 tea. coarse salt...mash these together in a mortar and pestle or something that will work, then fry in med skillet in

2 TBS corn oil, also add

3/4 cup chopped scallions/green onions/chives (maybe one bunch?) and

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (again one bunch)

Cook until scallions are soft 2-4 min, stir mixture into cooked beans and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with white rice and some veggies.

This is a great one to double and freeze into small containers. The boys prefer these made into burritos and I prefer mine with rice in a bowl with jalapenos and sour cream, yum!


Necy's White Rice (Brazilian lady)


.After making this rice the first time I realized there was no better way to make it and I gave away my rice cooker and use this method every time. My kids all love it and want just plain rice...


3 c white rice (can reduce to 2 or 1 cup, then use 2 or 1 teaspoon of salt to match)

1/3 c corn oil (I used coconut today 'cause I didn't have corn, but the flavor of corn is better)

1 TBS coarse salt
Bring a teapot full of water to a boil (~6 3/4 c)
In a fine strainer rinse rice under cold running water for 1 minute, drain well, set aside.

In a stockpot heat oil until very hot but not smoking, add rice, cook stirring until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add salt and stir to combine.

Add enough boiling water to cover (~4 1/2 c). Simmer over med-high heat, partially covered (i don't even cover mine) until water is absorbed about 9 minutes. Add rest of the water and continue cooking over low heat until water is absorbed and rice is cooked, ~15 minutes. I don't follow these precise directions, I eye it, and if it needs more water then I add more and when it gets to the end when you're afraid it'll burn you can turn off heat and put on lid and leave it for 10 minutes and it'll probably be done after that... Enjoy!



pintos used today instead of black...just as good (I think)


Friday, June 17, 2011

Full moon and buddies

Today was different.

I got up today after sleeping half the night on the couch 'cause I fell asleep during TRON last night while we watched it with the kids. I got more sleep than usual, though, yay me.

I made the coffee and hoped onto facebook and got a cold call from a new mailbox manufacturer. I was going to hang up on him until he said they were making the style of mailboxes that only one other company is making right now. Then we proceeded to discuss mailboxes and Alaska and kids and animals for an hour. Sheesh.

While we were talking an earthquake hit Japan and then Alaska, a 5.1. I didn't feel it but many friends did.

Got my kids started with a few chores (finally) and then my oldest son came back in bawling because their chicken died. He was the lame chicken they were trying to nurse back to health, but just wasn't happening.

They had a burial for him.

Then a harsh letter was posted on facebook in the goat section which ripped a few people a new one...ok then.

I called a goat friend to pick her brain and while I was on the phone I walked out of my office and Steph @ Up North Over Yonder and Out of my Mind was sitting at my table and a strange man person was standing there talking to her...um, ok, I gotta go. She needed an air compressor of course, and I didn't have a functioning compact one.

I got a very sweet note from Jen @ Peas n Carrots I'm really enjoying our budding friendship as we are encountering similar struggles and joys.

I catch up with a mailbox colleague over email to see what he thinks about this other mailbox company.

I called a new friend from The Last Frontier and we talked for a short 3 HOURS about everything under the sun. I'll get to meet her at the Appleseed Rifle shoot that's in Birchwood in July.

My friend @ Goldberry Cottage wrote a note about some hairy guy in their back yard in a camper lurking aournd and she wanted my hubby to go with her hubby to check it out...but of course I forgot to tell him (sorry, MB!) and I don't think he saw his message yet...

Meanwhile my kids were running-a-muck not doing chores and hubby wanted to take the kids to the soccer game early, so I threw them some food as they waled out the door. One kid got an egg, one some leftover salmon and a third got some cheese...now that I think of it the soccer player got nothing. Nice job, me. I fed them borscht and Cheetos when they got home.

After they left I was walking by the stairs and the neighbor boy opened the front door to put in the cat. I asked him when he came to our house. He said he'd been there a little while. I asked him to please let me know when he came and left from my house so that I know what's going on. He wanted to play, but the kids were gone, so he opted to play outside alone.
Talked to a few customers.

I got a note from Laura at Hey, what's for dinner mom? and gave her a call and we chatted for a bit about the goat milk and farming.

Josh @ Alaskan Rambler wanted to check in and see if I talked to our mutual friend @ The Last Frontier yet as he is organizing the Rifleman shoot and is excited to meet our new friend also.

Meanwhile the crazy goat ladies are mis-behaving again but my goats are perfect.

If it's not a full moon tonight it should be. What a strange day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kids and dogs

My oldest daughter turned 13 this May. This is my child that has begged me for animals her whole life and this year is no different. She wants a puppy so she can breed it and sell the puppies.

I am not an animal lover. Not at all. I used to like cats, but not anymore. When I started having children I lost any interest I had for animals. HOWEVER as you know, we have many animals. This is mostly the fault of Martha Stewart and my daughter. Martha Stewart because when I watched her show years back she had the most beautiful eggs and I coveted them. I wanted THOSE chickens so I could get THOSE eggs. My neighbor knew about chickens so we jumped in. Turns out having chickens is fun and my husband took to them much more than I did. I love the eggs, he likes the hens.

When my daughter was eight she begged me for a horse (again) we have 2 acers but no fence or barn. Horses are very impractical in Alaska, however, as a homeschooling family we want to encourage our kids passions not discourage them. We got her into horse lessons. Unfortunately she was a natural...which sucks 'cause that means we can't easily quit. So we go during the summer. Last year she won the first competition she was in...beginners luck? At this point in time we are not equipped for horses and perhaps never will be, but we like the idea of her being distracted with animals through her teenage years. I don't think that will be a problem...our younger girls on the other hand, well that's a different story.

Another animal she begged for were goats. I didn't want to milk a goat, who was I kidding. I'm a lazy NOT farm girl. But goats make a whole lot more sense than horses do. I began collecting chain link dog kennel panels after our friend gave us theirs and another friend gave us theirs. I realized they would be great for goats (who are terrible at getting through fences). When I discovered last year that goats don't need the kind of heavy duty shelter that chickens do up here in the winter, I realized it was time to jump on board. No time like the present...if I don't do this now I may never. So we took the plunge, 2 Nubian does in milk producing 2 gallons a day. A whirlwind of a learning curve, what to do with THAT much milk?! Learn to make everything out of it and find what you like best.

This June one doe is maybe pregnant, harder to get her knocked up than the other. The other had 3 bucklings. The nice thing is that bucklings need more milk than doelings, so the doe will produce more that year, but the bad part is they suck it all and you don't have it to drink. We get about 1/2 gallon a day from the other doe now for ourselves, which is barely enough...we have to ration it. I'd wanted a LaMancha doe last year but the breeder I chose didn't have any. This year she had more LaMancha kids available. I don't have enough milk at the moment with the doe feeding kids and I also don't want my children getting attached to the bucklings we're raising to sell as bucks or to butcher this fall for meat...I decided that after my daughter did an amazing job this year doing 95% of the milking that I'd buy her a goat instead of a puppy.

It was a good call (so far) she was not disappointed, she's totally in love, she picked out the one that was born the day we were at the breeder's visiting, she and I will split any profits from sales of kids and the doeling will provide our family milk for years to come. Daughter named her Elka and though LaMancha's aren't nearly as cute as Nubians (no ears!) with her docile personality, she will definitely grow on us.

I'm finding the goats are growing on me in general. I dare say I could end up being a goat lover. Don't tell anyone.



It's raining, lets blog


Today is raining, so I'll finally post these pics I took last week. It's been so sunny and nice (awesome) but it's good to have a down day...as long as it's just one day. I'm making borscht for my deprived family, the ham bone is slowly cooking and our house feels cozy.

What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day in the summer?
pansies and Livingston daisies planted here...hope they get bigger!


zucchini & 2 sunflowers...the warmest part of our yard

columbine getting ready to bloom

2 new raspberry beds, one yellow one thorn less red

never ending fence redo

our yellow house that used to be green

our old laying hens

planted garden

new chickens for this year, our "teenagers"

first try at turnips, how do you eat turnips?

new top needed for our picnic table, old rotted one removed

there is nothing better than a snuggly baby goat

my prized peony, love this thing

husband's honey bees hard at work

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Broody Hen

Have you ever seen a broody hen who hatches out her own chicks and then cares for them? Well this is my first year to see such a thing (another farm had some) and so I had to have one. I found a hen available and I found some of the Easter Egger chicks that I wanted to get some pretty colored eggs from and went farm hopping.

First I picked up the hen who is a Cochin x Silkie, the lady I got her from calls her a "Frobbit". She's white and very silky smooth. She didn't like being pulled off of her clutch, but into the box she went and on we drove to the other farm.

The woman at the other farm had all sorts of animals: sheep, bunnies, geese, ducks, chickens and quail. Lots of chicks, and 3 incubators full of eggs. She picked out 5 hopefully girl chicks (she even showed me how to tell by their tail feathers if they're girls or boys). She suggested putting them into the same box with the Frobbit, as she has at least 4 Frobbits that I saw all with their own following of chicks. Sure enough she settled right down and was a gracious mama to the new chicks.

When we got home we put them into our large dog kennel so the cat couldn't get at the chicks and the mama and babies could bond. They are so quiet compared to the chicks in the brooder box under the heat lamp. I forget they are there then I freak out and go check on them and they're all just quietly sitting there looking around. SO CUTE!!!

kids named her Dutchess and her 5 chicks

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Bomb

No, I'm not bombing books, I'm helping someone to sell theirs.

The Simplicity Primer looks like a promising book that can help people focus on what matters and eliminate the fluff and stuff that doesn't. Frankly I have not read this book, so I have no clue if it's good or not. HOWEVER, I have been reading Patrice Lewis's Blog for a while and have to say she's funny, smart and just fun to read.

The date is set for June 7 to "bomb" Amazon with orders for her book and see what all the fuss is about. This helps jack up her numbers and therefore helps others to see this book higher on suggested reading lists on particular subjects.

Buy The Simplicity Primer Here.

The dirt jar

A few years ago my husband was in WA helping a friend in his garden. He found a little brown jar. He brought it home to me because he knows I'm crazy about old things especially jars and things that hold other things.

So I put it in my bathroom still dirty but "rustic" with it's rusted lid and cute little self. I've let my bathroom be my "country" room as my dear husband can't handle the whole house being "country" and in reality I think I would go berserk in the cuteness of constant "country".

Tonight I bought more country storage containers to put stuff in (see my weakness?) for my bathroom and I took the jar off the shelf to dust it off and I took the jar of M&Ms off so I could clean the shelf. And I thought "Duh, the cute jar can hold M&Ms!" So I tried for the first time taking the lid off and lots of dirt came out. I went to clean the jar but it had ewey gooey stuff inside, gross what was in here? While the jar was soaking I started scrubbing the rusted lid and some color and words appeared. Vaseline! What do you know. The jar belongs in the bathroom.

Chesebrough Manfg. Co. Cd. New - York

Home of the potty reward M&Ms.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bleh

Yup, just bleh. That's how I feel and have felt all day. Could be the rain, could be the fact that 2 of my kids are taking AS FREAKING LONG AS POSSIBLE to do their chores and school.

I made myself take a walk with the little two while the others had history with papa, but I still came home and was grumpy again. At 2:30pm my husband suggested that I have a drink...nice.

I am sitting here eating the evil animal crackers from Costco while dinner is actually made on the stove. What the heck??? I should be glad that I actually pulled off dinner...but I just want these kids to finish.

Hubby is at church and we're going out after so don't even think of feeling sorry for me. I'm just in a funk, I'll get over it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sadness

Last week: Happy, loved, guarded, spring, joy, mud, release, love.

Tonight: Pizza, joy, sorrow, peace, love, hopeful, guarded, grief.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Busy

I can't even begin to tell you how busy we've been this last week.

Thursday I started helping to lay down hard wood floor in our parish hall, we have someone coming to stain it before Easter. I helped Friday, then Saturday, then Monday and today we're almost done. Taking way longer than I expected. I thought two days of my time, but this is crazy! It's been a lot of fun and hubby took this week off so he's been a big help with the kids, but not much school has gotten done.

Chicks started hatching on Thursday thru Sunday. Hubby's project with the kids, they hatched around 160 and sold most of the "extras". We're keeping about 35. The roosters will be our meat chickens this year and the hens we'll keep to lay.

Thursday my husband and friend headed to Anchorage to pick up our temporary priest who's from California. Married with a 1-yr-old girl. We were so happy to have a priest for all of the services that are called for during Holy Week and Pascha. Little did we realize that this priest was my husband's long lost (Arab) twin. Friday began our 2 church services per day ('till Sunday) schedule, so that's in addition to everything else.

My husband picked up his bee hive on Saturday and will get bees in it this coming Saturday.

Sunday was Palm Sunday one of my favorite feasts of the year. Church was full, salmon was awesome and the company was amazing! I even got to wear my new "June Cleaver" dress. When I ran over to my sisters real quick that afternoon I got the van stuck in the mud, argh! So I got out in my nice dress and put on my work gloves and proceeded to gather boards to put under the tires. My brother-in-law finally had to push me out with his 4wheeler. The sun was still shining so it was ok.

The goat, Amelia, finally had her babies (three!) last night during cowboy night. I'd started writing a blog post when he said, "Anna! Now!" and ran out to the garage. I followed and heard her scream. When I got there he was holding a long gooey goat kid by the back legs and there was another on the ground. We called our goat "midwife" and she told me to have him pull up on her belly in case there were any more and there was. It came out backwards and my daughter tickled it's nose with some straw to make it sneeze. They are all beautiful Nubian boys (bummer no girls) but cute none-the-less. They have great lineage so they maybe good heard sires, or, someones dinner (I don't think ours).

On we go with this crazy week. Thursday the annual bishop visit will be upon us. At some point I have to let the kids dye eggs and we have to figure out if we have all the pieces to their outfits. Make food, and more food and buy food. Go to lots more church. And church and then PASCHA! I can't wait!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cowboy night

We don't have TV hooked up to the outside world. We have gone through different TV phases in our married life but always knowing that too much TV is not good for children (and us). For disclosure purposes we do own a TV/ DVD player hooked to a X-Box and a Wii and another TV hooked up to a VCR. We also recently purchased a "kids" laptop so that my husband could teach my son how to do computer programming and gives the kids very limited Internet access (with Net Nanny) and this also has a DVD player. The main time we let the kids watch movies is when we have company or Saturday morning. We "try" to keep it limited and still go in phases, usually winter brings more TV time and summer less. And of course there are those days when I just say "screw it" and let them watch WAY too much and then they complain of a headache...

Video Games. I have never liked them AT ALL but I'm married and my husband is a computer geek and his down time involves some game time. The boys are the ones who like video games the most and I do allow them 10 minutes on the X-Box or Wii only after their chores and school are done. Sometimes they are allowed to earn more. Weekends are more laxed depending on what we're doing. A big part of the reason I wanted a "farm" is to have plenty of things to do that has to occupy the kids time so that we would have to limit TV and game time simply out of necessity. They each have many chores each day and it takes them time to complete them all.

I, personally, used to be a TV junkie and had to just cut it out all together. We have discovered NetFlix instant watch, but I don't watch shows just by myself anymore. We sometimes watch stuff after the kids go to bed, like our allotment on the laptop and that's plenty for me these days. We have finally found a somewhat happy medium. Not at all perfect (to me NONE would be perfect) but better than before.

In the midst of all of our figuring out we stumbled onto something we all liked very much.

Monday night cowboy night.

It started when my boys were little (they are now 9 & 10) and my husband went and bought a bunch of DVD sets of old cowboy shows starting with "The Lone Ranger". He also got some Zorro and old Robin Hood and threw that into the mix.

The kids have always looked forward to Monday nights because that's their night with papa to watch an oldie but goodie. This is usually our only "TV" night of the week days. They are currently watching Buck Rogers which I always thought was a cowboy show, but it turns out it's an old space show before the Star Trek days. Dosen't it sound like he should be a cowboy? Most of these shows I have never seen and I'll sit in on a few, but it gives me a nice break to do what ever I want while the kids sit on papa's back and enjoy an old TV show with him.

If they are lucky he'll even make popcorn.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Blizzard

My first reaction is to complain but then this is what it led to...

It made my bed seem sooooo unbelievably comfortable this morning that I really didn't want to get out. I left my pajamas on 'till 2 and talked to my friend for 3 hours. My coffee tasted extra good. The snow was perfect for snowmen. Hubby built a fire and we just sat and talked and then the kids roasted marshmallows. Just a little taste of winter in the spring.

Wacky Wednesday

2-yr-old with a cold, driving me up a wall, time for a movie for mama's reprieve.

Kids turn eggs in the incubator and feed and water the garage-goat. Yes, there's a goat in the garage ready to kid.

Everyone takes their antibiotics since in a family of this size when 3 people get strep, the doctors just give it to everyone.

Get a phone call from a friend. Miss that girl.

Make oriental salad with the Napa cabbage I bought yesterday...while helping son with math...make the decision not to make dinner tonight, we'll have ramen or leftovers.

Do some work, take a couple of customer's calls, mostly facebook and reading blogs. :p

Bro-in-law comes to do a lock change for me, then takes home my 7-yr-old to help with their kids. I'm relieved as I have girl overload (crying, whining, fighting, screaming, etc) by this point and she's a good baby holder for my sister, I hope she helped.

At 5pm I motivate the kids to do math, I have not been on the ball so can't expect them to be esp when the sun is shining. They can have a gigantic marshmallow if they finish their math by 6pm...they do.

2-yr-old informs me that her poop in the potty is very black, "I promise, I'm serious." she says. Ok, then.

Big kids play rough, I send them outside, the neighbor boy comes over with his dog and 2 of my kids yell at him for it, they get into a fight (verbal) and neighbor boy goes home with dog. Then calls and invites over the child who was not yelling at him. He told me what happened on the phone and I sent 2 kids over to apologize and then straight home. They get to muck out the goat yard.

2-yr-old falls in mud, gets a bath, then goes back outside...naked.

I attempt to bribe the 5-yr-old to do a reading lesson with the gigantic marshmallow trick, we got through one and a half.

I pull out the skirt that I made and fix it again, it finally fits!

Get the second to last kid to finish his English. Today's assignment is copying and memorizing a Psalm or two amendments in the Bill of Rights. He has chosen Psalm 8, very short.

Visit the goat. My daughter discovered how to make her stand super still, by scratching her with a stubby stick...good for photos, I'll try adding some later.

I'm impressed by some of the messes in my house and at my ability to cope with them just fine if my head is in the right place. I'm much nicer when I can tolerate the messes.

Son uses choke chain to take his two little sisters as slaves...puts it on their wrists and puts them in the garage goat pen, with the goat. Give a lesson that that's not appropriate play.

Between the junk food and the sunny day, today was pretty good.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Terrible twos

My cute, sweet, talkative littlest daughter turned into a monster yesterday. She got a cold and now screams and yells and cries at everyone and anything. Yesterday I felt a bit sorry for her because I knew she felt miserable, but today? Nope. Oh, look, she found the trash can lids/symbols! It's going to be a long day.


please do this

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dreaded Monday

After being in bed for 9 days straight I was very happy to be back in the land of the living this weekend.

Today was another story.

It wasn't a terrible Monday, but this morning my head was not in it. The kids had fallen behind in school (not really but in my head) and they needed the jump start in that and chores, etc.

I found a new trick a few weeks ago when I was feeling lazy to get them to do their chores with less yelling and faster (for the time being, you know how tricks go). I have a jar of chocolate chips and Reese's Pieces. When I wake up I tell them, "I'm giving reward at (fill in the blank) time." Usually in about 45 minutes or an hour. This gives me time to wake up, drink coffee and look at facebook. And if they hurry they can get a lot done in that amount of time...including eating, dressed, brushing hair/teeth, and starting their chores. For each thing they get done they get one chocolate chip or Reese's Pieces...it usually amounts to 3 up to 8. I'm grumpy in the morning and this is probably best for everyone, at the moment it's helping with family peace.

I used this today and they got a lot done before I had a church fund raising meeting. I left oldest daughter home (12) to get her math, English, Greek and chores done. She did one math problem during that 2.5 hours. SIGH I'm not sure what to do with her. I'm trying to teach her to stay focused on her own, but she just does not. I was the same way and still am to some degree. I have to get "motivated" to get things done, I'm not just methodical. SIGH It'll be ok. As she turns the corner to teenager hood I'm afraid but not. At least I know her and her current faults, I think what I need help on the most is seeing my own and working on them.


her other favorite sport

Sunday, April 3, 2011

When it's springtime in Alaska, it's 40 below.

boys laughing

cat prowling

chicken chasing

rooster strutting

hens digging

moose lurking


eggs opening


chicks chirping

fun swinging


girls hanging

skirt sewing

goats resting


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday

I decided to be better today! I got up, went upstairs, came back down and quickly crumpled back into bead.

Husband left around 9:30 to go pick up fertile eggs from 3 locations around our town.

While he was gone my cousin called informing us that our friend who has been struggling with Cancer and a broken back passed at 3am. My heart hurts for his wife and son that lived with and cared for him. His wife is my kid's Greek teacher and they have not had Greek class for the last 2 weeks because of our illness and his downward turn. Memory Eternal. May his soul dwell with the blessed.

I got in a nap and when hubby was done putting 158 eggs into the incubator to be hatched on Lazarus Saturday or Palm Sunday, I told him about our friend.

He told the kids and some cried. They have seen him more over the last 6 months at their house than we have. It's good, they need to see and fear death just as we all do. He told his wife in the last month or so that the only thing we can really be prepared for is death. He's so right.

After that my husband set up our nice new huge dog kennel (goat kennel) in the garage for our larger goat due to kid on April 13, but can go 10 days early or late. He visits her daily and noticed her laying down more and moaning more. Time to get our rear-in-gear and get all the things we need in order.

The phone rang a lot, the kids screamed, played and cried a lot and then it was time for church. I told one to go with hubby and the rest stayed home and took showers and cleaned up the kitchen.

When he got home he loaded the clean children into the van and drove to Fred Meyer to let them pick out their own dinners. I'm sure they just loved that. I don't think I've ever let them do that. He also got me some whole-clove garlic bread and grapes, a baby monitor to hook up to listen to the goat, and a bag of dark chocolates. He sure loves me.

I have an idea, I'll be better tomorrow!

Friday, March 25, 2011

This week

Sunday the kids were so happy to open the incubator and pull out some of the new chicks that had hatched. They are especially adorable when you hatch them yourself. Probably like when your own baby is just by far cuter than any other baby you have ever seen. It was amazing to watch and the fun should begin again this weekend with another batch. They sold them all very quickly and Papa will be taking over the sales and customer service end of things because apparently 12-yr-olds can do algebra but can't count chicks and will over sell them to your friends and family. Not as fun.

Pictures? No, of course I didn't take any pictures of the VERY FIRST BATCH OF CHICKS THE KIDS HATCHED OUT!!! That would be much too clever of me.

I've been feeling run down since last week but I had a meeting to go to with E on Tuesday night. By the time I got home I felt rotten and had a low grade fever. By the time I forced myself into bed it was a full on rough-and-tumble fever and I got out the big guns (huge polar fleece quilt) and hunkered down for the night.

Wednesday I slept all day, not a huge fever but needed to sleep. Right on through to Thursday late morning when I forced myself upstairs so my husband (now sick too) could have the morning in bed and I could get the kids to do chores and some school. I canceled the appointments I had and by 4:30 I needed a nap. Back to bed, hubbys turn. He made them spaghetti for dinner and got me some soup.

Friday I decided to get better. Sometimes that works. I got up, didn't feel like death, took a shower and then felt very tired. I got dressed went upstairs, got the kids to do some chores and school and snuck into my office where I have been neglecting customers all week. I had 8 new messages. I called back a few and hoped for message machines so I would not have to get into a long conversation with anyone. After a half hour I was done.

My brother-in-law had called earlier asking if we were better yet. Friday was Annunciation the day when Angel Gabriel comes to Mary to announce the news of carrying Christ in her womb. Because of this feast, Friday is also the only "Fish" day during Lent. I had agreed for the first time in our marriage to go out to sushi with my husband and so my brother-in-law wanted to bring my sister to try some out too. I said, "I'll try to feel better by then, I could take a Tylenol and we could try!" But at around 1:00 he called and said they wouldn't go, so I was relieved and ready to go back to bed. Hubby immediately went and picked two nice big salmon fillets out of the freezer and put them in the sink to thaw.

I got into bed, read some blogs and woke up 4 hours later having missed my friend coming over to say hi. (Sorry Jessie!!!!) I don't feel great but I felt like writing what is probably the lamest most boring blog ever!

I just hate being sick, fortunately I'm not sick a lot. As you can see I have a wonderful husband that takes good care of me when I am.

2010 meat chicks and pretty cute er rag-a-muffin gang


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kh. Barb's Seafood Soup

In December my sister introduced me to a delicious soup. It was published in the Saint John's Cookbook (blue spiral) and was submitted by Kh. Barbara Dunaway who just passed away in January. Memory Eternal.

This soup is very versatile and it's the spices that make it surprisingly good. I'm not a big soup fan, but this one sure hits the spot.

I'm posting this for Shelley as we were just talking about this soup the other day and I made it tonight for supper with some french bread and we shared it with a friend.

As usual I'll post the recipe and what I did or optionals in parentheses. I quadrupled this recipe so we'd have leftovers. Don't skimp on the spices when enlarging a recipe so much. Skimp on the Tabasco sauce, don't ever quadruple spicy stuff!!! Take it from me, I learned the hard way.

Barb's Seafood Soup
Saute in some oil:
1/2 c celery, chopped
1/2 c carrot, chopped
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Then add:
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes or 3-4 fresh tomatoes
4 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 cup water
1T parsley
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cumin
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T brown sugar
1 T vinegar
2 T catsup
1/2 tsp salt (this was my addition, you may not need it if you use a salty canned salmon)
3 dashes of Tabasco sauce (light if kids, put bottle on table with soup)
Simmer 30 minutes then add:
1/2 c rice (I also put in some millet, could add any grain)
Simmer 30 minutes more, check grain for doneness
Then add:
1/2 c zucchini, or spinach, or peas, or broccoli, or beet greens, etc or a combo of something (I put in beet greens and broccoli)
2 cups of cooked seafood (scallop, shrimp, crab, lobster, halibut, salmon, etc)
Cook 'till veggies are tender.

Serve with chopped tomatoes if desired and crunchy bread for dipping.

here fishy fishy fishy fishy fishy!



Saturday, March 19, 2011

3 Bean Salad

In my quest for not spending so much stinking money at the store, I have been learning more about dried beans, how to grind them for flour and how to put them in things more often to make meals stretch farther.

One of my favorite salads is homemade bean salad because I like the dressing. I made it the other day and have been snacking on it. I used only the things I already had here at home. The dressing is what makes it good, so you really can add what ever beans or veggies you want. Mine was not as colorful as normal, but still very tasty...

I'll list the recipe and what I used:

3 Bean Salad (can make 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 7 or 9 or 10 but not definitely not 11 bean)
1 can French green beans (I did not have these, I soaked and cooked soy beans)
1 can white wax beans (I did not have these, I soaked and cooked garbanzo beans)
1 can red kidney beans (I had these but opted for pinto since when soaked and cooked they stay together better than my kidney beans do)
1 sweet pepper, diced (I did not have these, but yellow and red make a pretty salad, I used celery)
1 whole onion, cut into rings

Dressing:
1 1/2 c sugar
2/3 c oil
2/3 c vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all in bowl or jar, chill for 6 hours or so before serving.

I keep mine in a large jar in the fridge, it lasts a long time as long as you don't share it.



Friday, March 18, 2011

Whining and itching and spring, oh my

Warning: This post contains an unusual amount of whining. While not saying that I don't usually whine, I'm saying there is more than normal.

I used to eat a lot of fruit one of my favorites was bananas.

In the last 10 years I have stumbled on a food allergy to them (and other fruit). It stinks!

My mouth gets itchy, stating at the roof of my mouth and working it's way down. Then my chin and my throat and neck and even my ears. I had to try again today, so I took an one inch piece and ate it and sure enough about 4 minutes later it started.

~sigh~ Woe is me.

Sus has her fever back today but oldest boy is better. The other kids seem fine, but I've been feeling fuzzy headed and yucky for the last couple of days. We have not been sick much this winter, so that's been nice, I guess it's our time now.

On a lighter note, my husband is currently building a permanent brooding box for chicks. The incubator has been closed up and in 5 days we can open it again. Hopefully the chicks will hatch and live and the kids will have some cute fluffy balls to sell to me and to our friends.

Also the sun is out a lot now, it's been so nice to have so much light! It's still chilly-ish, but slowly but surely melting the snow.

Our larger goat is due with kids April 13, but we're getting her garage "area" set up so she can kid inside. We splurged on a nice moveable dog kennel so we can set it up in there with straw. Our other one got her blood drawn yesterday so that I can send it in to get a pregnancy test. We think she's not pregnant still. :p

Things are busy, I feel crappy, but life is good.


oh, bananas, how I'd go bananas to eat you again




Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mama, do people come into heat?

This morning the inevitable happened. My almost 13-yr-old daughter asked the dreaded question.

Mama, do people come into heat?

I was jotting down on the calendar at that moment that our goat, Lady, might be in heat because my daughter pointed out how the little boy goat (castrated) was trying to mount her and she was standing perfectly still. A big sign of girl goat heat.

I grinned big at the calendar thinking what a perfect way for her to ask about this subject. I knew it was only a matter of time, she has the animals life cycle figured out. But I didn't really know what to say, I am not one of those moms who know how to talk to their kids about this in a nonchalant way, she asked again.

Mama, do people come into heat?

Chuckling softly I turned around and casually said, "Hon, lets talk about this later." I have avoided this subject before by putting it off until another time when the kids were younger and just didn't need to know, but I know the time is near, perhaps today.

She was pouring the goat's milk through the strainer into the jar musing to herself and said, "I want to know how people mate. I know so much about animals but I don't know about people, I really want to know."

Lord, may she always be this innocent!

I had to mouth over her little, very acute of hearing, brother's head, "LATER!"

Her, "OK."

Lord have mercy on me.

Happy to sick to happy

This morning I woke like most mornings to the chipper sound of a 2-yr-old saying, "mama can I drink your water?" "mama I have to go potty, I want to go on YOUR potty!" "mama, can you make me some cereal?"

Her talking quickly turned into whining and more whining, and finally crying and lots of crying. "Mama, I want to snuggle with you on the couch, mama, hold me, mama I want the horsey song." Argh, what's up??

Then my 10-yr-old says, "Mama, I don't feel good." and in my current state of frustration I said, "Fine, just go back to bed then!"

I realized at this point something was awry.

I decided to take a mental chill pill. I didn't have any big plans today, I did have time to hold a sick daughter. My son came out later with a gigantic head ache and had him take one Tylenol. They both had a nap or two or three, I let them watch some movies and we had a very calm day all in all.

It's now midnight and my 2-year-old is feeling much better. Starting back into her whiny talk, but talking again not just sleeping and wheazing. She keeps coming into my room saying, "mama, I need a book" "mama, can I drink your water" "mama, I want some apple" "mama, can I sleep with you" "mama can I pee in your potty?"

Hopefully she'll go to sleep eventually.

Her horsey song.






Sunday, March 13, 2011

Indian food

Friday afternoon I drove by the sushi restaurant in town and wished it was still the Indian place. I miss it right now.

Yesterday I did nothing; until it was dinner time and realized I had not thought of anything to make, so I hit up Manjula, my favorite internet Indian cook.

I used the "St. John Church Cookbook" and made Ser's Aloo Mattar (I'll list recipe below) and I made Manjula's Besan Puda (pancake like flat bread with veggies in them). The thing I left out were green chilies, I don't have any.

I ground the chickpea flour and rice flour for the Besan Puda in the coffee grinder and our flour mill and they were very good. I've made the Aloo Mattar before and it's good too.

Today after church I was wishing for more leftovers than we had so I decided to make a bunch more Indian food. I started with my Dal recipe that I posted about a couple weeks ago. Then I started a pot of white rice. I remembered watching the Cabbage Kofta video last night and thinking I had most of the ingredients not to mention that they looked delicious. On the dumplings I used powdered ginger, dried cilantro (not the same as fresh!) and didn't have a green chilie. In the gravy I didn't have fresh tomatoes and used sauce, didn't have hing, powdered ginger, no yogurt, and dried cilantro. The kofta's themselves were awesome, probably should have skipped the gravy but it was good for dipping the Besan Puda's. I made more today with no veggie this time.

My parents showed up right in time to have some with us, it was a great Sunday meal with lots of leftovers.

Ser's Aloo Mattar, serves 4
(means potatoes and green peas, I like Ser's version since I have all the spices on hand)

2 lg potatoes, peeled and cut into sugar cube size pieces, soak in cold water
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c fine diced onion, saute both in
2 T oil, then add:
1 c chopped tomato (I use canned)
1 t salt
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground cardamom
1/2 t turmeric powder
1/2 t ground coriander
pinch cayenne (opt, we don't add)
-cook 5 minutes-
-add well drained potatoes, stir for a minute, add:
1 c water
-cover, cook med heat 10 min-
1 1/2 c defrosted peas, add
-cover cook 15 min, till potatoes are soft-
-mash about 1/2 the pot-
Serve with rice and other Indian food, YUM!

I didn't take any pictures, but my Indian food is not photogenic. Manjula is a joy to watch, I bet she will inspire you too.


photogenic Indian food

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lent and bread

Clean week kicks my butt in so many different ways. It says, "Ok, Anna, we're starting Lent, so lets throw as much as possible (but only as much as you can handle) your way and see how you juggle and handle it all."

This week has been crazy to say the least. I won't go into detail because there's WAY too much. It's been a Days Of Our Lives sort of week but in a churchy, country, homeschoolish way. That should not, however, lead you to believe that any was pure or good.

One thing I do like about clean week is that whether I have been on the bread bandwagon or not I start again in clean week. The fasting rule for clean week is NO FOOD from Sunday night to Wednesday after liturgy. Of course we don't even try for that level, but I do tell my kids that that's the rule and I try to teach the kids they're lucky to get any food and it will help them get through Lent if they have a much stricter clean week. This goes for me and hubby as well, there is really a lot of good fasting food out there, so the first week is boring food at our house.

I like eating bread but I hate how it doesn't stick to my ribs, so I'm always looking for more ways to sneak in some protein. In some of my grain and bean research I've basically discovered the more variety you can pack into food the better it will fill you up and be good for you. Don't go overboard! Once I ground up 1/4 c of lentils to add to some cookies and the dough was HORRIBLE, my husband about fell over after taking a huge spoon. The baked cookies tasted much better, but after more research many un-cooked beans have a very strong flavor.

Tuesday I made what in my mind I called "Health Nut Bread" here's what I did...

Start with the basic recipe:
4c warm water + 4tsp yeast + ~1/2 c. sugar + 4tsp salt ....proof
Collect goodies to add...normally I add whole oats about 1/2-1 cup, but that day there was about 2cups of cooked oatmeal that wasn't going to be eaten so I added that. I also had 1 cup of cooked chick peas on hand so I blended them and added those too.
Keep in mind the chemistry that works in bread. I'm not an expert but I know you need extra gluten to get the non gluten ingredients to rise.
Spelt and Kamut are high in gluten and so I grabbed those and milled 1 cup of each and a 1/4 cup of millet. I even milled a 1/4 cup of brown rice.


I added a bunch of "Prairie Gold" wheat berries flour I'd ground on Monday.
I ground 1/4 c of flax seed in my coffee grinder and added that instead of oil which I would normally add in a "regular" recipe.
I ground more spelt and kamut to add later. I think I used about 1/2 wheat and 1/2 spelt/kamut. With the other flours thrown in. For some reason I always use these two grains together. They are very light in color and can substitute white flour, but cost more (at least in Alaska where we pay for shipping)...but are not refined white flour which I'm sure is not "good" for us but the way I figure it it's still better than buying only store bought bread.


Let it rise, keep an eye on it, it only took 20 minutes to get to here, but I think I added a touch extra yeast as I wanted a quick rise.

You can even skip the first rise if you're in a hurry, but I always let it rise just for a bit.
Cut up and put in pans, these loaves only rose another 20 minutes in the pan and I put them in the oven.

I didn't get a picture of them when they were done. Tastes just wonderful and the kids (and hubby) don't have a clue that there was left over oatmeal and beans it it. :)