31 March 2013

Beast of Burden

It's not the horses dragging their own posts for their fence.  Here, Jack is the beast of burden.
Oh, the things Jack does for me and my horses.  Mind you though, I was dragging posts too.
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Happy Easter

Hope you had a Happy Easter.

He Is Risen.

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29 March 2013

10 Easy Hairstyles for Little Girls

With three girls, we've got a lot of wispy, fine hair in the house to tame.  I can't bring myself to cut the iconic, thick bangs that most little girls sport at some point so I've been getting a bit creative in their hairstyles.  With a little practice (on both the part of hairstyler and child), here are ten easy hairstyles for little girls.

1.  The Tripod
Just pull the bangs into a half ponytail, then divide it into pigtails.

2.  The Reverse Tripod
Separate hair into two half pigtails, then comb all of the hair into a ponytail.

3.  The Cascade
Gather bangs into a ponytail.  Add three or four rows of ponytails, combining with previous ponytails.

4.  The Double Cascade
Divide hair down the center.  Form two half ponytails with bangs and add subsequent ponytails with previous ponytails.

5.  The Ballerina Bun.
Pull hair into a ponytail.  Twist and wrap hair around hair tie and secure with pins or a clip.

6.  The Samurai
Divide hair into half ponytail and comb high onto the crown of the head (this hairstyle is particularly helpful when shopping--it's easier to spot a child with a flag of hair on their head).

7.  The Pippi Longstocking
What little girl doesn't love braids?
Divide hair in half and comb into two pigtails.  Braid and secure with hair ties.

8.  The Octopus
Divide the hair in half and form two half pigtails.  Divide hair into three equal ponytails and combine with portions of previous pigtails.

9.  The Turnover
Divide hair into two equal half pigtails.  Turn hair through front and center of itself and tighten.

10.  The Weave
Separate out two locks of hair.  Twist them together once, then begin picking up hair and adding it to the bottom lock.  Twist back around and repeat with other lock (the pattern is similar to french braiding but is simpler with one less section to work with).

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Tomorrow, The Louvre

Sidewalk chalk today.  Tomorrow, the Louvre.

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28 March 2013

The Perfect Pizza Crust

A new friend in Indiana shared her pizza crust and this one's a real winner.  Not only does it take less than half an hour to make (you could make your own homemade pizza faster than you could order one), it makes a two perfect pizza crusts every time.  Use it for personal pizzas, calzones or breadsticks as well.
This is a great recipe for childrens' personal pizzas.

2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar
4 to 5 (+/-) cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 400F.  Combine water, yeast and sugar.  Allow yeast to dissolve and begin foaming. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine brown sugar, salt and a few cups of flour.  Pour in the yeast mixture and stir.  Slowly add additional flour until dough is slightly sticky but not stiff.  Knead about five minutes.
Divide dough in two and coat with olive oil.  Rest dough for a few minutes then roll or toss it to the desired size.  Place on pan coated with olive oil and sprinkled with cornmeal.  Brush with olive oil and top with preferred sauce and toppings.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is a golden brown.

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This is the kind of math I wish they taught in school: how to calculate the construction and cost of a horse's pasture.

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25 March 2013

Simple Cottage Pie

Since this recipe is made with beef rather than lamb, it's technically not shepard's pie--it's cottage pie.  But beyond the name and the technicality of what meat it's made with, the concept is the same.  This version is simplified so it doesn't take all day to make but is still very flavorful and satisfying.


1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
2 cups frozen veggies (try corn, peas, carrots, etc or combination)
4 medium sized potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  Brown ground beef.  Drain excess fat and add onion.  Season with salt and pepper to taste along with Worcestershire sauce.  Place in the bottom of a 9 x 9 pan and pour beef broth over the top.  Cover with frozen veggies.
While beef is browning, peel, wash and chop potatoes.  Boil until tender.  Drain water and mash potatoes with butter, milk, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread mashed potatoes over the beef and veggies (rough them up with a fork to get some of the peaks to bake to a golden brown).  Bake for about 30 minutes or until heated thoroughly.  Serve hot!
Serve with 30 minute dinner rolls or quick pan cornbread.

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24 March 2013

Swing Grandma, Swing!

The girls and their cousins took advantage of nice weather, a four-seater swing set and a grandma available for giving pushes.
Swing Grandma, swing!

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23 March 2013

A Reprieve

Though we supposedly have a snowstorm on the way, we received a reprieve from the chilly, un-springlike weather and took an opportunity to enjoy time outdoors.
Jack trimmed some trees, climbed up onto the roof to survey any needed repairs and (of course) checked on his new bees.
Evelyn and Claire explored their new playground, enjoyed running without restriction and (of course) spent some time tormenting in the most loving way possible our cats.
Kate and I suited up in one of our best investments--a baby hiking backpack.  We tilled some plots for the garden, Kate (of course) eventually fell asleep and napped in the shade and I (of course) longed for my horses to be right outside our window and walked the perimeter of the pasture, planning where to stretch the horse fence.
To say we enjoyed a day of beautiful weather is a mighty understatement.

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Across The Finish Line

The girls racing (repeatedly) across the Indianapolis Speedway finish line. 

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21 March 2013

Spring "Break"

Some of my family has come to Indiana for spring break.  We've already had tons of fun at the zoo, the children's museum, going to church together and gorging ourselves on shakes.  Yesterday, we decided to take a "break" from all the fun.
My mother insisted on washing the windows in our great room.
We stayed home and put up some new fans and started filling in the thousands of nail holes in preparation for painting...
...we repaired the dishwasher so we no longer have to wash dishes by hand...
...we started ripping down the wallpaper, one piece at a time...
...and cleaned and started demolishing the master bathroom in preparation for its renovation.
It's the kind of spring "break" we all enjoy.

Thanks for the help everyone!
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19 March 2013

Mother's Milk

One of my goals for this year was to donate milk.  I have always thought that human milk is the most beneficial form of nutrition for babies so I decided to see what I could do for infants whose mothers are unable to nurse for a variety of reasons.  Through the Indiana Mother's Milk Bank, I was screened, accepted as a donor and the milk I sent in will be pasteurized and sent to infants who most need it.

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