Thursday, June 30, 2011

Amusement Park Fun

On our way to an amusement park. The kids were super excited. Finn dressed himself. Can you tell?

Oren's first ride. When the ride started, he wasn't sure if he should cry or laugh, but since everyone was smiling, he decided it was fun. He slouched like this the entire ride and thought was cool. I thought he was cool too. 

The lone kid. I'm sure he didn't mind riding by himself, but it makes me want to have one more kid so that everyone has a buddy.

The boats. 

This is a kid version of the thing that shoots you up in the air and drops you. It was all fun and games until they got to the top and dropped. They didn't drop far, but Finn was scared out of his mind. 

Finn made the funniest scared face. I didn't take a picture of it because I didn't want to be mean, but I had trouble hiding my laugh. I felt so sorry for him. Thankfully, the ride was short. He was done with rides after this.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Greaser's Delight (Taco Salad)

1 lb ground beef
1 C cooked or mostly cooked black beans
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin
chili powder or cayenne to taste
1 15 oz can tomato sauce

Brown beef. Add onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add everything else. Cover and cook in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. I never have pre-cooked beans so I add a bit more tomato sauce and cook it for an hour. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. We like to eat this on top of lettuce and chips or crispy tortillas.


The bunnies are nutso. Have I said that yet? I go out there every morning to see them smash up against the front of the cage. Starving. So starving they fail to notice the edge of the cage when it's open. These rabbits eat more than my children and that is saying something.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Peas and Shades

Maeve asked me to take a picture of the monster pea she found in the garden. I keep telling her that all of the peas could be monster peas if she would stop eating them. 

Isn't he cool? These are the free cow sunglasses the kids got at the dairy farm. 

See? He can put them on all by himself.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pasta Alfredo

Let me start by saying this is probably not a real Alfredo sauce. It is tasty though and easy.

Chicken and seasonings:
Melt a tablespoon or so of butter in a large pan. Combine cooked shredded chicken, garlic, parsley, basil and finely chopped kale and chard and add to melted butter. Cook over medium heat and turn to low as soon as you can smell the garlic. You can add any number of things to this chicken mixture. Peas, broccoli, or whatever you like to eat with a white, cheesy sauce.

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
3 C milk (I never measure, I just dump until it looks right. I use whole milk, by the way.)
1 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a heavy sauce pan. Add flour and mix. Add milk and whisk like you mean it. When the milk is almost as thick as gravy, add the cheese and whisk. Stir for a minute or so and turn off your burner.

Cook a box of spaghetti or pasta of your choice. Your pasta should be cooking at the same time you are making the sauce. Drain the pasta, but do not rinse. Pour your pasta into a big serving/casserole dish and add your sauce and chicken mixture. Stir to combine. Eat.

Menu Monday

Once again, I fell off the menu planning wagon and got back on with gusto. I planned our menu for the entire month. I just did dinners and will try to post recipes as I make them. My menu starts on Saturday because I go to the store on Friday.

Saturday: Indian hand pies
Sunday: waffles
Monday: pasta Alfredo with chard, broccoli and chicken
Tuesday: out to eat
Wednesday: Greaser's Delight (Not really greasy, but my husband thought naming it this was funny)
Thursday: Ham and scalloped potatoes
Friday: beef pot pies

I don't always list a veggie, but it's almost always included. I have a tendency to add chard and kale to everything in addition to whatever main vegetable we're eating.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dairy Farm Tour

We toured a dairy farm recently and I neglected to take any pictures except for this one. The tour was very interesting and I learned a lot. The kids got free ice cream, orange juice, bananas, yogurt, milk, doughnuts, corn and soy bean seeds and sunglasses. There were two calves for the kids to see up close and Oren thought that was fantastic.

As soon as we got home, Maeve painted a shirt and some white fabric with black spots. I still haven't made her cow pants, but I will very soon. Maeve also sat down and drew this wonderful picture. Oren has been mooing quite a bit and picking out animal books for me to read.

The Garden

My garden is growing nicely and so are the weeds. We added straw to the tomato patch and I'm hoping that will give us a bit of relief from weeding.

Here's what we're growing this year:
tomatoes (I believe we have around 45)
peppers (not as many as I had hoped because one of my "helpers" kept dumping out the seedlings when they were still in the house)
swiss chard
lettuce (I can't remember the kind, it's loose leaf)
black beans
green beans
watermelon (maybe, they've been mowed twice)
butternut squash
zucchini (this is another maybe because our wood pile is now blocking a great deal of sunlight)
sugar snap peas
lemon balm

We also planted raspberries and grapes, although one of our grape vines bit the dust shortly after being planted.

The beauty of having used heirloom seeds is that we were in for a few surprises this year. I found eight small cherry tomato plants, a green bean plant, more tomatoes, some onions and two random chards that never came up last summer.

I planted the beans and peas together this year and it is working out great. The combination of the two plants does a nice job of blocking out the sunlight for the weeds.

The patch with the carrots and onions is sort of a waste of space. The carrot seeds must have washed into one corner because they are not in a nice, neat row like I planted them. I planted onions from seeds this year and will probably not do that again. I do have several onions growing, but it's hard to tell them apart from the weeds and I have to weed very slowly in that area. I need to figure out what to plant to fill up some of the wasted space.

I never did get the leeks or asparagus planted. I also will plant garlic this fall.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why My House is Never Clean

Every once in awhile, I do something crazy and give Oren things like colored rice or flour. He had so much fun dumping flour from bowl to bowl. He stirred, he dumped, he delicately poured it all over my floor.

I was incredibly impressed that he went and got his broom when he was done playing. He made an honest attempt to sweep and really gave it his all. At one point, he was on his hands and knees with a plastic scraper trying to get the glued on flour bits off the floor.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Laundry Room

I recently reorganized the laundry room so that it's more functional for me.

Each kid has their own column for clothes: shirts on the top, shorts/pants/skirts in the middle and socks and underwear in the tote on the bottom.

The brown totes are diapers and the three cubby thing is for my husband's clothes.
 This section isn't finished, but the bottom shelf is for my clothes and the upstairs towels. The middle shelf is for blankets and a few pillows and I haven't quite decided what I'm going to put on the top. It'll probably be for our emergency backpacks or other preparedness type stuff.
This is where I hang my husband's shirts and a few of my shirts. I have a card table next to the dryer so that I have a place to fold clothes and so that clean clothes don't end up on the floor. I also have a smaller round basket that I toss socks into as I find them. I go through the basket about once a week to find all of the matches.
Next to my fabulous old school washing machine (I am not even being sarcastic. I LOVE this thing and regret believing the hype about front loaders.), I have a cheap bookshelf for laundry detergent and laundry detergent ingredients, a jar for loose change, light bulbs and vinyl gloves. I don't have a need for vinyl gloves all that often, but I found an unopened box while I was cleaning.

I am caught up with laundry for the first time in awhile and have been throwing dirty stuff into the washer as soon as I find it. When the washer is full, I start it. I am hopeful that this new organized room will help keep the laundry under control.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

3 Weeks

The bunnies are three weeks old and are crazy. The love straw and hay, they drink water from Flower's water dish, they eat pellets and if they are awake they can be found pestering Flower and attempting to nurse.

The bunnies and Flower were inside all last week due to the heat. They have been returned to their hutch outside and are doing quite well. The babies scatter like mice when startled and jump like popping popcorn when excited. All of the skinnier babies have fatten up nicely and everyone is handled on a daily basis. My kids are fantastic with the rabbits and even my almost two year old handles them gently. The babies are proving to be a great learning experience.

Summer School

My kids have asked to start school again. So we will start on Monday with tadpole lap books, as requested.

And if I haven't posted my plan for the school year, here it is:

*We will do structured learning Monday-Thursday
*We'll take off the last week of every month
*We'll also take off August, December and April


Maeve took the camera outside and while this is not at all in focus, I appreciate her subject. That is the perfect strawberry and yet another one from our garden that will never touch my lips.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


See those teeth? The bunnies are about 4 days old.

Here they are at two weeks. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dog Treetse

Maeve has started sounding out words and spelling them without asking me first. I love it.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I am trying a new granola recipe and am hoping it's as good as my recipe that calls for lots of butter. Who am I kidding. Anyway, here it is:

5 C oats
1 C ground flax
1 C wheat germ
1 C coconut
1/2 C coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C brown sugar
1 C flour
3/4 C water

Mix wet and add to dry. Bake for two hours at 250 degrees. Store in the fridge or freezer.

The Forgotten Moth

The kids found a caterpillar so naturally it went into a canning jar. We forgot about the caterpillar because he rolled under the couch and when he was found, he had turned into a chrysalis. We then placed the jar on the buffet so that we could watch him emerge, but we thought he might be dead. I had every intention of throwing him out, but when we looked at him again he had turned into a wonderful moth! Maeve let him loose in a big patch of weeds so that he could have a place to hide. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sewing Projects

Watch out world because I have figured out how to sew pants. I made a few attempts last year at creating my own pants pattern, but for whatever reason, I failed miserably. I've been on a sewing kick lately and found this boy pants pattern. I added about 1/4 of an inch all the way around and have been making the pants longer so that I can let out the hem as needed. The pants fit my lean four year old perfectly. I am super excited to be able to make him pants because he hates zippers, snaps and buttons, I love re-purposing clothes and he will finally have some comfortable pants that are a bit dressier than sweat pants.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt a shirt. I have never made a shirt so this ought to be interesting. It doesn't seem difficult, but shirts have always intimidated me. I made my own pattern and will be using this tutorial. We'll see how it turns out.