30 March 2014

Big Dog. Little Horse.

I drug (literally, had to drag) Raven over to see the horses today.  If we're going to live as one happy homestead, all of the animals need to get along.  No dogs nipping at horses' hocks and no horses stomping on dogs.  Stoney didn't care much that there was a dog nearby--he's too old and was too focused on the food the girls were doling out.  However, Dancer took a keen interest in the new mutt on the farm.  They sniffed and touched noses and Raven even gave a little tail wag.
Not exactly undying friendship.  Yet.

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29 March 2014

Garlic Broccoli and Chicken Stir Fry

A delicious, quick dinner recipe that's scrumptious.

Garlic Broccoli and Chicken Stir Fry


1 pound chicken breast, sliced or cubed
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons powdered garlic
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups broccoli florets
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

In a large skillet or wok, add chicken, garlic and ginger over medium heat.  Brown chicken on all sides.  Add 3/4 cup of the broth, the soy sauce and the sugar.  Cover to cook about three minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add broccoli and toss to coat.  Cover and cook another three to five minutes or until broccoli are crisp yet tender and chicken has been thoroughly cooked.  Mix cornstarch with remaining 1/4 cup broth and stir in with rest of stir fry.  Toss to coat and stir until thickened (will thicken faster once removed from heat).  Serve with steamed rice.
Thank you to Piarecipes for the recipe inspiration!

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27 March 2014

Permission to Chew

You have my permission to chew.
Raven has been an exceptionally good dog.  Still a puppy, she's only chewed one sock and part of a tennis shoe and after realizing we didn't care much for that, she's held off.  I decided to get her a rawhide bone and at first, she didn't want to have anything to do with it.  Then she realized she was allowed to chew on it.

She hasn't come up for a breath yet.

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24 March 2014

Indiana Kate

Ready to ride off to an Indiana Jones-esque adventure.  Think she needs a bull whip?

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Here, Fishie, Fishie!

Amazingly, the little minnows Jack bought last summer have survived the winter (despite being dangerously low on water a few times and frozen solid once when the power cord to the deicer gave out).  Now Snickers has discovered them and thinks they might make a tasty snack.
Watch out little fishies!

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21 March 2014

Welcome Home Raven!

I'd like to publicly re-announce how awesome Jack is.

We've been casually searching for that perfect dog for a few months.  We looked online, went to several adoption events, the local humane society where Claire was so startled by a dog that lept and growled at her in his kennel, she wasn't sure she wanted a dog anymore and eventually found a dog we really liked.

He was adopted right out from under us.

We learned quickly that the good dogs go fast.

So we kept looking.  We visited a few other rescues while the cousins were here and stumbled upon Raven, a sweet border collie mix who, in the midst of a pack of excitedly barking dogs, stood silently, wagging her tail.  We brought her inside and though she was surrounded by six little girls--some elated, some nervous--she was very gentle and friendly.
Kate was thrilled that she found the dog's eye.

We left her at the rescue and after Jack got home, did our best to convince him that she was the dog for us.  Jack hummed and hawed but never agreed that I should go pick her up.
Content to curl up on a blanket in between line-drying towels and in a room with hissing cats.
Yesterday at dinner, in walked Jack with Raven in tow.  He went secretly to pick her up and surprise us.  Seeing the dog (and INSIDE! something he claimed he'd never allow) was a happy shock.
SURPRISE!  (Seriously, we were all astounded).
She's still settling in but is a quick learner and is enjoying all the attention from the girls, a yard to run in and a tennis ball to chase.
I imagine this was one of Raven's first real grooming sessions.  She loved it.
Welcome home Raven!

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20 March 2014

White and Dark Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let's not limit green, minty cookies to St. Patrick's Day alone!

White and Dark Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 drops green food coloring
2 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture.  Drop in food coloring and mint extract, stirring until evenly colored.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop on greased cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set (they shouldn't be very browned).  Cool and eat!

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16 March 2014

Old Man Down!

Old man down!
I spied Stoney laying down yesterday.  Sometimes that's cause for alarm in horses--they could be suffering from colic or have their guts twisted or injured a limb but with Stoney, it just usually means he's snoozing.  After all, yesterday was rough.
It was beautiful and springlike so we pulled Stoney out from the paddock and gave him a good rub with the curry comb and brush.  He'll never admit it but he loves being pampered especially if he gets to nibble at grass while it's happening.
First ride of the year.
Then the really hard part: tote six very excited, very small girls around the slightly muddy paddock.  What a trooper.
Kaylee can hardly contain her excitement!
The girls and their cousins got some memorable photos on his back (all six of them don't even equal MY weight when I climb in the saddle) so Stoney, like usual, patiently allowed it.
Though it's not the cross county courses he used to gallop with me in his youth, I think he still earned his nap.
The whole Luke family going for a ride!

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15 March 2014

I Spy

I spy . . . 
. . . tulips!

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Marble Brownies

Brownies and cream cheese?  Sounds like a win to us!

Marble Brownies


1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together flour, powder and salt.  Melt butter  and blend in cocoa.  Add sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Mix together with the dry ingredients until smooth.  Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 pan.

Cream Cheese Marbling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese with a mixer until creamy.  Add sugar, egg and vanilla.  Drop by spoonfuls over the brownie batter and cut in with a knife to make the marbling effect.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350F or until cream cheese is lightly browned and brownies are set.  Cool completely before cutting.  Keep refrigerated.

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12 March 2014

Lucky Girls. Lucky Horses.

Knowing another cold snap was coming, we spent the last few days practically living outside.  Poor Kate really misses seeing the horses, especially Dancer.
They were happily reunited after a season of staring at the horses longingly through their bedroom window.  Dancer is a stinker with me (she let me clean her front two hooves before deciding she was finished and walked off) but she's sweet with the girls.
Of course, Stoney will tolerate just about anyone for food.  As if they didn't have enough hay, the girls spent a good portion of the evening stuffing the loose hay into their paddock.
Lucky girls.  Lucky Horses.
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11 March 2014

Hide and Seek

Who'd you find Kate?
With the change in daylight and the gorgeous weather yesterday, we decided to play hide and seek outside for family night.
Hiding under an empty horse trough.
Jack gets really into it--he conceals the girls under and behind and on top of things.  They'd be hard to find if it weren't for them giggling and whispering their location.
In plain sight on the jungle gym.  Even Dancer came over to see what we were up to.
I find it's just as effective to hide in plain sight as long as I'm quiet.  It's really hilarious watching the girls run right past, totally oblivious that I'm so close by.  Eventually, I give them some clues and they excitedly scream they've found me.
We played almost until bedtime (that time change really has been throwing me off!).  We found Jack one more time . . .
 . . . and went to say hello to the horses, followed by cookies and a glass of milk.
Let us know if anyone wants to come over and challenge us to a game of hide and seek!

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