31 May 2014

Mud Princess

Claire helped me pick out a chic little outfit, complete with a collared, white shirt grandma had gotten for her.  She did pretty well most of the day keeping tidy, but Claire really is a mud princess.
Too funny to be in trouble.
Literally.  She likes mud.  A lot.

(Anyone know how to get mud stains out?)

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30 May 2014

Beef Lo Mein

We love a good Chinese dish and this one's no exception!  It's easy, doesn't have any hard-to-find ingredients and is on the table in less than half an hour.

Beef Lo Mein

Ingredients:

8 ounces chinese egg noodles or thin spaghetti, broken in half
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon beef bouillon
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon oil
1 pound beef
2 large carrots
2 cups broccoli
1 large onion
2 teaspoons garlic, minced

Cook noodles according to package instructions.  After draining water, toss noodles with sesame oil and set aside.  Boil 1/4 cup water and dissolve bouillon.  Add soy sauce and brown sugar.  Slice beef and fry in skillet for about a minute both sides, cooking completely.  Add the soy sauce mixture and cook an additional minute.  Pour over noodles.  Dice carrots, broccoli and onion into large pieces.  Saute veggies until tender, adding garlic toward the end.  Combine with noodles and beef, toss to coat and serve hot.
Enjoy!

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29 May 2014

Running Buddy

Having owned a basset hound and a greyhound (he was great for sprinting but was useless on the long run), Raven is my new running buddy. She's got the endurance but is cowardly about passing cars. And barking dogs. And plastic bags, mowers, four wheelers, crowing roosters and any wildlife giving her an evil look She'll get over it. I think...


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28 May 2014

(No Bake!) Peanut Butter Granola Bars

The girls love a good granola bar and I was thrilled to find this no bake version that still has a bit of a crunch.  Perfect for summer snacking!

(No Bake!) Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups quick oats
1 cup Rice Krispies
1/2 cup flax
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Line a 9x9 pan with aluminum foil.  combine the oats, cereal and flax.  In a microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, sugar and vanilla and heat for 30 seconds or until smooth and creamy.  Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well coated.  Pour in the pan and press firmly.  Refrigerate and hour before cutting.  Store in a sealed container in a cool place.
Enjoy!
(Thanks to Saving With Shellie for the recipe inspiration!)

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27 May 2014

Turkey Run

I love long weekends for several reasons: Jack gets to be home with us for longer, there's more time to work on the house together and there's time to have fun!
Climbing what they dubbed was Pride Rock.
We spent the morning putting up some more stone, I went on a jog with Raven, we took care of the animals, tended the garden, did some laundry, tidied the house and decided to go to Turkey Run State Park.
The view along the beach was gorgeous.
Saying that place is gorgeous is an understatement.  I love the rock bluffs and thick, verdant foliage.  We were a bit surprised to see how packed it was later in the day but it was a neat to see different types of people who enjoy spending time outdoors.
Trekking over the suspension bridge.  Evie shrieked and clutched the rail the entire time while Claire tried rocking it.
There were dozens of people canoeing the river (I'm totally doing that next time!), hiking, walking dogs and carrying sleeping children and swimming.  Illegally.  Boy, it was hard convincing the girls not to dive in too.
Raven enjoying the cool breeze coming off the rock formations.  I've never seen her so tired!
Raven made the trip too.  She's always a bit overeager to follow the trail but sometimes it's helpful to have her pull me up the hills, especially when packing Kate around.
Fishing from the walkway.
We tried a bit of fishing and Jack helped the girls almost snag a couple but there were just too many people splashing around to make it worth the fish's while.
Checking to see if she caught anything.
Unable to catch fish, the girls settled on trapping pollywogs, something they were rather skilled at once they were shown how (I perfected the skill myself as a child).
There were a couple of big guys but most of the tadpoles were TINY.
Weary and ready for dinner, we headed back home and stopped at a quaint little ice cream shop for dinner and dessert, then headed home to relax.
One of the benefits of siblings: there are always different ice creams to try.
It was an awesome afternoon trip we'd love to take again.  And soon!
Checking out a trickling waterfall.  Jack of course is drinking some.

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26 May 2014

Cheesy Biscuits

Here's a quick cheesy biscuit recipe that uses butter instead of shortening. It's great as a side to soup and salad or split in half for an egg sandwich for breakfast too!

Cheesy Biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup shredded cheese
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk with a Tablespoon of lemon juice--stir together and rest)

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Sift together the flour, powder, soda, salt and sugar.  Cut the butter in until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the shredded cheese.  Pour in the milk and stir, then knead into a stiff dough.  Roll out to an inch thickness and cut out biscuits.  Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until bottoms are browned slightly.
Enjoy!

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25 May 2014

The Childhood I Never Had

My girls are having the childhood I never had.

(I'm not being ungrateful, just appreciating that childhood has lead me to this point and that I'm able to enjoy horses with my daughters, literally right outside the door.  Not many people ever get to say that).

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24 May 2014

Buzz Off

Guarding the door.
I was hoping the harder-than-normal winter would have "taken care" of a few of the abundant insects in Indiana.  Nope.  This week alone, I've seen several species of bees and wasps in, on and around the house, sniffing out their favorite spots to put a hive.
Caught in the act!  If Jack were there, he would've done something about it.  I was too intimidated...
If they were the friendly little honeybees we keep, we'd let them stay in a heartbeat (even though they sometimes try to nest in the house).  But they've been yellow jackets and and ground bees and blue mud daubers and most annoyingly of all, carpenter bees.
That's the kind of damage carpenter bees do.  And on top of my riding tack.  Nice.
They've come back from last year to the same shed I'd like to convert into a horse shelter to gnaw out holes in the beams for their babies.  If it weren't bad enough that they're slowly destroying my property, they're incredibly aggressive and intimidating.  Jack assures me they don't sting but it's hard to overcome my primal instincts that tell me to run from a large buzzing insect.  While I waited outside the shed (I needed to grab some wire I had stored inside), I watched the bees.  More than once, the bees flew over to other passing insects to assault them and scare them away from their nests.  I even saw one attack a few cottonwood seeds floating in the air.  Geesh!  Calm down lady!
This lady was attacking floating cottonwood seeds.  I did my best to stay out of her way...
I'm hoping to get to the shed by late summer.  By then, the bees will have moved on so I can fill the holes and paint without the threat of being beat up by a bee.  I guess it's all in a day of the life of a rehomesteader.

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23 May 2014

Five

Can you believe we already have a smart, funny, beautiful, ready-to-start-kindergarten, taller-than-average, sweet, sassy, artistic, kind five year old?
Me neither.
At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!
Evelyn's getting to the point where she very much understands what birthdays mean: a day all about her.  Thankfully, she's very gracious about it.  She was kind to her sisters all morning who doted on her and more than once, randomly blurted, "Happy birthday!"  (Actually, they're still doing it).
The trolley ride.
Jack was blessed with a really neat opportunity through work to go to one of the practice days for the Indy 500, complete with access to a swanky corporate suite.  Though not invited, we joined him after lunch since going to the grounds was free.
A nice guy gave us a ride from the parking lot in his rickshaw where we met up with Jack.  We kissed the bricks at the finish line, looked at some cars that probably cost more than our income and rode back to the parking lot on a trolley (which might as well have been a free train ride as far as the kids were concerned).
Evie's solution to them both wanting to ride the stroller: hold your baby sister on your lap.
Then it was off to the museum, a rare treat with Jack.  Evelyn dictated where to go and showed her dad all of her favorites, most of all the dinosphere.
Jack and Kate being ridiculous and sitting on their dino nest.
She requested salmon for dinner (expensive tastes!) and a sun cake with a rainbow.  I compromised by adding food coloring to six globs of batter (I didn't tell her the rainbow has indigo in it too) and swirled them in the cake pans.  And FYI, do you know how hard it is to frost a cake when it's hot and humid?  Almost impossible.  Still, she seemed pleased with the results.
I raced to a meeting and raced back home in time to slice up the cake and send the girls to bed.  Looking back, maybe I should have held off on the dose of sugar--they were up until eleven chattering away, despite my best efforts to hush them.  I still paying for it today.  Oh, well.  What's a birthday without cake?
We know how blessed we are to have Evelyn with us and are so glad she was able to have a fantastic day.
Happy Birthday Evie!

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22 May 2014

Dinner and a Show

Collecting hail from the deck.
Jack came home soaking wet yesterday, informing us that a storm, hail included, was on the way.  Right on schedule, we had dinner and a show.

My first thoughts are always of the horses.  I don't have a shed for them to retreat to yet.  Really though, it's doubtful they'd use it much.  When it rains, horses almost always stand still and bear it.  Poor things got pelted with some of the plummeting hail but other than flinching, they didn't care.
Evidence they didn't give a hoot?  The second the storm let up, they were back to grazing.
While the storm raged, we stood on the deck to watch the hail roll off the roof.  The lightening was spectacular and the thunder booming.  Thankfully the girls aren't afraid of a good thunderstorm and instead, run around gleefully energized by it.
Jack collecting hail nuggets for the girls after the worst had passed.
It was the first real thunderstorm of spring and were grateful to observe the wonder of nature from the comfort of our deck, the water for our garden and probably most importantly, no real harm done.
Wouldn't want to get clunked on the head by that!

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21 May 2014

They Grow So Fast

If you think kids grow fast, get a couple of chicks!
Almost overnight, the chicks started sprouting feathers and combs, have put on substantial weight, do everything they can to escape their comfy enclosure and scratch at any dropped food like professional hens.
Evie's chick (and practically her best friend).
Claire's little one is almost certainly a rooster--his tail feathers are about three times longer and he loves picking a fight.  As long as he isn't overly mean with children, he can stick around.
I just love this little cochin hen's face.  Cuuuute!
We're furiously working on an enclosed yard and sturdy coop for the poultry.  They grow so fast, so we'd better hurry!
Claire's friend, the rooster.

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