31 March 2015

Equestrianism

I've felt all of these while riding and I think that's why I enjoy it so much.

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30 March 2015

No More Guessing


No more guessing which of the old Easter Eggers is laying the egg!

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29 March 2015

Sledding and Snowmen

Being towed to the hill to go sledding.
A few weeks ago, we had a fairly late-season snow storm that canceled church and left a good several inches of snow on the ground.
No one can resist eating fresh snow.
Since sledding and snowmen have been favorite pastimes of my childhood, I was eager to share it with my girls, who have never had a chance to sled either because they were too young, it was too cold or there wasn't enough snow.It was the first time for Kate to build a snowman too--Claire and Evelyn are old pros from Iowa.
Rolling snowmen bodies.
We spent an afternoon making snowmen the best we could since the snow was still so fresh and cold that it wasn't sticking together very well. Still, we managed to make a snow lady and a snow bunny and a snow fort  while Raven ran amok. We were out about an hour before needing to head inside to warm up.
For family night, we decided to brave it and take the girls sledding. We didn't have a sled but got creative using a boat inner tube and a ski rope. It was just long enough to send the girls screaming down the hill then tow them back to the top.
Kate being drug back up the hill.
Jack took us out for malts and cheesy fries afterward at a newly restored diner afterwards, which made the evening a mega success. We're hopefully done with snow for the season but are happy we got to share our favorite winter activities with the girls.


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28 March 2015

Ready, Set, Tile!

Getting started on the mud room tile!
I've had stacks and stacks of tile around the house for a few weeks and I finally decided to tackle the mud room. Of course, with any project, preparation is key so I called in the girls to help pull up the smelly, cracking linoleum (reminded me of the shoe room carpet). They'll do just about anything for a quarter and I'm glad of the help.
Claire and Kate are always willing to help if it means a quarter in the piggy bank.
Then it was just a matter of laying rows of tile with a few cuts here and there. Though I'm no fan of saws, the tile saw is fairly innocent and straightforward.
I like grouting waaaaay more than tiling.
Once I was done, it was a matter of grouting the tile and keeping everyone off. I did my best, but Raven is quite sneaky when she wants to go nap in the dark, cool food storage room. Thankfully, no harm done and she avoided stepping on any of the drying grout lines.
Jack helping out with some of the master bath tiling.
If I weren't sick of tiling after the mud room, it was only a warm up for the master bath shower and floor. I have fairly simple tastes but Jack can get rather extravagant (just ask his mother about the wedding cake he requested when we were married). But, I must admit, though it was quite the challenge to tile, it really turned out beautiful.
Jack's vision for the master bath shower.
Now to grout the shower...
Who wants another quarter?

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26 March 2015

Mani/Pedi

A section of Stoney's hoof. A.K.A. one of Raven's favorite chew toys.
While some people like to treat themselves to a mani/pedi, I'm lucky if I go somewhere without grout or paint in my cuticles, much less with filed nails or polish. The horses, however, are on a regular schedule where their hooves are trimmed and filed to perfection.
Dancer being good. Occasionally, she can manage to behave herself.
I'd almost think they were spoiled but they don't particularly enjoy it. Stoney's finding it harder to lift his hind legs with his old man swayed back and Dancer's just a little pill who attempts to put her foot down every chance she gets, whether someone's hanging onto it or not.
Lydia trying her best to snip off some of Dancer's hoof.
The girls and their cousins got to try out farrier work too and discovered just how strong your gripping muscles have to be to trim up the hooves. Raven always hovers around to snatch pieces of hooves to eat (I never claimed dogs weren't gross) and the horses are set for another few months until they're scheduled for another pampering session.

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22 March 2015

Billion Graves

Taking photos and recording gravestone information.
I set a goal to index 1,000 records this year through Family Search Indexing and while I'm well on my way to achieving the goal, today we did a different sort of family history. Jack discovered a site called Billion Graves, whose goal is to photograph and record information off of tombstones so people can search for their ancestors' information.
The original tombstone had fallen and cracked, so it was encased in concrete and replaced by two new headstones.
We've been waiting for good weather and though it was a bit chilly, took some visiting family to a nearby cemetery and got started. Graveyards carry a creepy stigma with them for some people, but I've always enjoyed visiting them. As a child and youth, we used to venture out every Memorial Day with family and listen to my grandmother tell us stories about our ancestors. Cemeteries hold lots of memories.
The girls took a trip through the cemetery and reading names on the headstones.
I'm sure our contribution will be minimal, but it's a neat feeling connecting people with their roots. Check out Billion Graves if you're looking to do some volunteer service on your own schedule.

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20 March 2015

Happy Adoptiversary!

The only thing Raven loves more than snow is mud.
A year ago today, Jack shocked all of us--me the most--by walking in with Raven. Not only was it incredibly that he'd finally agreed to get a dog, but he actually allowed her in the house. I felt rather spoiled getting my way.
The year has gone quickly, and kind of like the kids, she feels like she's always been a part of the family. She went from an incredibly timid, underweight dog in need of rescue from the rescue who didn't know how to walk on a leash, what cats were or that eating shoes was a no-no to a happy, healthy dog who loves to run and do chores morning and night with me and only chews shoes if they're left overnight in her room (it's a great motivation to get the girls to put their shoes in the shoe closet).
Playing on the jungle gym.
Evelyn is still a crazy chicken lady, Claire prefers the cats, I'm all about the horses but Kate definitely prefers dogs. Everything is well-loved here.
Despite Raven's imperfections (hey, we've all got them), she really is an awesome dog. Lots of dogs have good traits, but not all have the bonus ones we needed for our family. She's sweet, gentle taking treats, hardly ever barks, loves kids (and only occasionally knocks them over when she gets excited because they're excited), subservient to the cats, stays on our property, comes when called and doesn't attack poultry or nip at horse heels. She's a great farm dog.
Sun, warmth and a tummy rub.
We're looking forward to many more years with Raven, more miles jogging, camping trips and help keeping the fox away. Raven's got it good, but so do we.
She LOVES running in the snow.
Happy one year adoptiversary, Raven!


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18 March 2015

Mermaids

When setting family goals at the beginning of the year, the girls decided they would like to take swim lessons. Though I never took lessons as a child, I had ample time to practice my swimming when we took yearly trip to the Ozarks where we'd spend an entire week swimming in the pool and lake. By the time I was Kate's age, I was practically a mermaid.
 So, we decided to sign the older girls up before the summer swim season. It was hilarious watching them kick and float and paddle, giggling the entire time. It always helps when they get to take classes together (like dance) because their confidence and willingness to try new things is greater.
They'll be mermaids in no time. Once they get a little practice in swimming and sinking their entire body under the water, I've no doubt they'll take off.


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17 March 2015

Chicken Ranch Roll Ups

Not in the mood to cook? In a rush? These burritos deliver a delicious meal in a snap. Assemble then grill, bake or pan fry them and they're ready to serve in 20 to 30 minutes.
Ingredients:

4 to 6 large tortillas
3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup frozen broccoli florets
1/2 cup Ranch dressing

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except tortillas thoroughly. Divide into tortillas and wrap all ends tightly. Pan fry, grill or bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, at 350F or until golden and hot.
Enjoy!
Thanks to Taste and Tell Blog for the recipe inspiration! 

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16 March 2015

Longsuffering

Yes, Kate dresses herself most days.
If I had to describe Snickers and Hercules in one word, it'd be longsuffering.

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15 March 2015

Copycat Olive Garden Vinaigrette (No Packets Required!)

Jack and I went on a date a few weeks ago to The Olive Garden and (where else?) Menards. Since then, I've been craving a big, ol' Olive Garden Salad, without having to pay the restaurant price. So, I assembled the lettuce, olives, croutons, tomatoes, peppers, red onion and parmesan cheese and just needed a copycat recipe for the vinaigrette. Unfortunately, most call for adding a package of salad seasoning which I didn't have on hand. A little research and tweaking later, and we have a vinaigrette that passes for restaurant quality.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 Tablespoon salt (+/- to taste)
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pepper
1 teaspoon grated parmesan
1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons water
Mmm...giant salad...
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Chill until ready to serve. Shake well before pouring.

Enjoy!

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