Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weekly Winners

I don't have much to write about this week. It's pretty slow around here. The weather is back to being yuck. I sometimes wonder if this winter will ever end. I know it's only February (nearly March, I round up in the winter) and it could always be worse than it is. But sometimes I feel like I might explode unless I get outside in some warm weather. I even told the hubby last weekend that I feel the need to go running again. I've pretty much stopped running all together. It's not something I miss but I do miss the way I feel after a run. It's very hard to recreate that feeling on the treadmill. So maybe I will start running again in the Spring. Anyways, I digress, the point of this post is to share some photos.

The kids and I started quite a few seeds this past weekend. It might be a little early but I'm ok with that. We got six types of tomatoes started (36 tomato plants in all), two types of bell peppers, broccoli and a whole tray of basil. It's a good start. I'm really looking forward to rototilling everything. Can't hardly wait.

I just love this picture. Greta, with her crazy morning hair, helping Sean mix up the waffle batter on Sunday. He makes us waffles with berry sauce every Sunday morning. It's a nice routine that I and the kids enjoy (and Papa Rich).

Having outside cats has been quite the treat. You just never know what they will bring home. I was on the treadmill yesterday and looked out the back window to see one of the minions prancing through the yard with something big in its mouth. Upon further investigation I found it to be a bird and a snake.....together. It was a big haul. Both were completely eaten by the time I went out later. Yuck.

The kids have been asking to ride their bikes so Greta and I stopped by the store to pick her up a bike helmet (she's been using her brothers helmet to ride during the day while he's at school). Walmart had some rather unique helmets. The unicorn helmet didn't fit too well so we went with a traditional one, but still very cool. Then this past Saturday when it wasn't too cold I loaded up the bikes in the back of the truck and I took them to the high school parking lot to do some bike riding. Living on gravel roads does not make learning to ride a bike very much fun. They had fun on the pavement, I had fun getting was great. I'm looking forward to doing it again when the weather warms up.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Welding and hotcakes

I was out last weekend enjoying the amazingly nice weather and decided I needed to muck out the goat house. They'd been cooped up in there for a few weeks and it looked like it. Yuck. So out came the pitch fork and the garden cart. Half a load in the head of the pitch fork fell off. The metal fork part just slid out of the metal handle. I managed to shove it back in long enough to finish up for the day then asked Rich, our resident welder, if he'd mind welding the head back on. He said sure, he's nice like that. Then it hit me, our resident welder is just a mere 40 something days away from retirement. Retirement means he's moving back home to New Mexico. He's been visiting nearly every weekend for close to two years now. It's become routine having him here and we are sure going to miss him when he leaves. I'm happy for him being able to go home but it will be strange not having him here on the weekends.

I thought perhaps, since he was leaving soon, I'd see if he'd give me a welding lesson. Maybe I could do my own welding once he left. He said sure and the next day I got a great lesson in wire feed welding. I'd done a bit of welding in my Sculpture 2 class in college but that was 15 years ago (yikes!). I feel pretty confident in trying it again after my little lesson. I suppose it's just a matter of practicing it. Things I learned after the lesson: always wear clothing that covers the entire body, no skin showing. I wore a sweatshirt that day that had a v-neck. I tied it close but it must have came open a bit during the welding as I was sporting a decent sunburn on my chest that evening. Oops. It was fun and maybe some day I'll take a welding class.

Thanks Rich for teaching me, between Sean's skills and mine perhaps we can pick up the welding duties around here after you leave.

On a completely different note, I thought I'd share my newest food obsession. I tend to stick with a food that I like and will eat it every day until I tire of it. My newest thing are the two ingredient pancakes. I mentioned them in a previous post but didn't elaborate on the recipe as it was still a work in progress. Well I've been messing with them and finally got them perfect. It's where you take one banana and mash it up, add two eggs and mix it all together. I tried it in the food processor but it made it too liquid. Mashing it by hand keeps some lumps which help bulk up the pancakes. Throw in a couple tablespoons crushed walnuts, a teaspoon of vanilla, shake of cinnamon and an 1/8 teaspoon baking powder and it makes the perfect little stack of protein filled, flourless pancakes. Add a dab of butter and they don't need any syrup. So good and good for you! I think I've had them every day this week. I've been trying to cram more protein into my day, I feel so much better when I hit my goal of 75 grams a day. The key (according to Dr. Oz) is to get 25 grams at each meal. I have so much more energy during the day, which is so nice. Anyways, just thought I'd share my perfect two ingredient pancake recipe.

Perfect Two Ingredient Pancakes:

-1 medium banana
-2 eggs

Smash banana with fork, add eggs and mix well. 

Optional ingredients (highly recommended):
-1 t. vanilla
-1/8 t. baking powder
-a couple of shakes of cinnamon
-1 T. walnut pieces 

Heat pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Cook pancakes and enjoy!
With the walnuts, this recipe has 18 grams of protein.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Toy

Today I came home to these two big boxes. We'd ordered something that I've been wanting for quite some time. Technically it's for the kids ....but secretly I've wanted one of these forever.

Can you figure it out yet? Sean took a day off of work today to work on the Rover but I hijacked him into putting this together for us.  Took him about three hours. I helped a little bit when I wasn't dropping off kids or taking a kid to the doctors or picking up medicine....oh never mind I didn't help.

Yep, finally got our trampoline. I was going to order one off of but the ratings weren't so great so we wandered over to Amazon and found a highly rated one with Prime shipping. For an additional $25 they would overnight it to our doorstep, so that is what we did. We ordered it yesterday at 3pm and it was sitting on our doorstep at 10 this morning and it came from Pennsylvania. Isn't that crazy? What a fun toy!

Oh and on a positive note, the pedometer works while jumping so this could be a fun way to achieve my daily steps. Woo hoo!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I can not express how lovely it is to get out of this house after so many weeks trapped inside because of the bitter cold and snow. The sun is shining, the snow is all but melted and we are getting ready for a super nice week of weather. It sure lifts my spirits. Unfortunately poor Wesley is under the weather. I thought he was over it this morning but I just got back from a shopping trip out to find him red cheeked and lying on the couch with a 103.5 temp. We're on day three of this. Luckily Tylenol gets the fever down and four hours later it's back up again. I sure hope it doesn't spread to the rest of us (especially Greta). I'm thankful he's out of school tomorrow for President's Day (he would have been kept home anyways).

I've been keeping busy cleaning out animals pens. Snow and ice kept the horses, goats and chickens in their houses for the last two weeks. The chickens, literally, didn't leave their coop since the first snow. They are the most prissy animals. The goats also won't set foot on snow and hunkered down in their shed. I just kept layering straw on top of straw to keep them clean. Therefore there was two feet of nasty straw bedding that needed to be cleaned out. That's quite a job. Luckily I have a massive pile of mulch started for the garden.....already full of natures fertilizer.

On that note, I got my garden seeds ordered last week. Several things need to be started soon so I went ahead and got everything ordered. I tried a new website this year. It's called They have a great selection, only sell non-GMO, non-hybrid, heirloom seeds. They also offer a ton of seeds in .99 cent sample packs. Their sample packs have about the perfect amount of seeds for me. The basil sample pack has 120 seeds, the squash sampler has 15 seeds. It's enough to grow a nice row but not be overrun (remember last year when I grew 400 zucchini plants? Yeah, I'm not doing that again). There is just something that compels me to plant every seed in that packet, otherwise they are just going to waste. So this will help prevent that. This is a good thing. My new exciting crop I'm trying this year? Wheat! I'm planting a nice plot of Hard Red Wheat. This will be a first but I'm excited to try it out. Also this year I am rototilling up a few new plots for the kids. They get to plant whatever they'd like but it's up to them to keep it weeded and watered. They are looking forward to it and I think it will be a good learning experience.

That's all that is happening around here. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Epic Ice

We got another four inches of snow yesterday and they decided to only delay school a couple of hours. Since none of the roads were cleared and my little car can't clear four inches I decided to keep Wesley home from school. It wasn't worth the deductible. So we relaxed at home, played some games, read some books and had some quality Super Mario Brother time. It was nice. We are sure looking forward to the warm up this week. It's supposed to be in the 60's within the next week. Good bye snow! Good riddance!

With the snow we had some epic icicles. Seriously the biggest icicles I've seen. We had a massive one that got to a little over 66 inches long and as big around as my leg. It was awesome. It nearly ripped off our gutter, but still awesome.

I tried some new recipes since that's seems to be the only thing to do these days. The kids enjoy being my guinea pigs in that department. I found a (somewhat) quick and easy yeast cinnamon roll recipe. It's only got one rise so it's pretty quick from start to finish considering it's yeast rolls. I iced them with a vanilla orange glaze (just mix up powdered sugar with orange juice and vanilla) which made them pop a little more. Really good on these frigid mornings. Give it a try!

One rise cinnamon rolls (makes about 16 rolls)

In a large mixer place:
2 1/2 cups hot tap water
1 T salt
1/3 c. oil
1/3 c. sugar or honey
2 T yeast
1 egg

Mix together a little and then add 6 c. flour.

Mix flour until it "leaves" the sides of the bowl.  Then continue mixing 10 minutes.
Pour dough onto an oiled counter top. Roll out the dough on an oiled countertop to form large rectangle. 
In a bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar & 2 T cinnamon with 4 T softened butter. 
With a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into sugar & cinnamon until it forms a crumbly mixture.
Spread out on top of rolled out dough. 
Roll the short side toward you to form a log. 
Cut cinnamon rolls about 2 inches thick and place in 13 X 9 inch pan sprayed with Pam. 
Rise for 30-40 minutes. 
Bake for 12-18 minutes.

*I halved the recipe so that I didn't have a giant pan of cinnamon rolls. Eight rolls was enough for our family.

Friday, February 7, 2014

How times have changed

Last night around dinner time (aka "the crazy time") our littlest dog Chance decided to do his dinner dance. He proceeds to find his dish and scoot it all over the floor, shoving it into every wall, chair and toy in his path. The idea is to make as much noise as possible to alert me to his never ending hunger. He's one of the more annoying creatures around here (at least at dinner time).....and that's saying a lot. I thought I'd take a video to share on here since it can be quite funny. But after taking the video I decided I couldn't share it because it showcased just how messy and cluttered my house can be at the end of the day.

We're talking disaster area.

Toys strewn everywhere, shoes haphazardly dropped all over, crunched up leaves, puddles of melted snow water, cans of cat food that turned into a fun stacking toy and clothing dropped wherever the four year old decided her next wardrobe change would happen. It's embarrassing.  

Which leads me to discuss the latest article I read. I wish I could find it but alas it was a random read never to appear again. It was about how the times have changed and women in the home have gone from "Homemakers" to "Stay-at-home moms". In the 50's a woman's job was to maintain her house, cook a healthy meal and look presentable to her husband when he arrived home. Kids were raised in a playpen. Not a thing out of place. Women these days (that stay home with their kids instead of out in the work force) are to raise kids, if that means the house chores are at the bottom of the list then that's how it goes. The times have definitely changed, that's for sure.

I do try and have a healthy meal ready when the Mister walks through the door, my kids are clean and happy but my house looks like a tornado ripped through it. I feel bad, I should be able to keep it clean. That's kind of my job. But I always think of this phrase: "Cleaning a house with kids around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreo's." There is nothing more true in this world than that phrase.  At the end of the day I enlist help to pick up toys and clothes but it is no picture perfect house, by any stretch of the imagination. But you know what? I'm ok with that. This is life.

To prove that, here is the video I was not willing to show because of my messy house. Isn't Chance a hoot?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snow Day

We got a snow day today. Woo hoo! I feel like a kid on snow days, even though I'm not a kid. I remember that wonderful feeling of seeing your little school printed along the bottom of the tv. Such a warm, fuzzy feeling. It's really nice knowing I get to sleep in and not trudge through the snow to get the kids to school. I thought I'd try out a new breakfast idea this morning. My friend told me about two ingredient pancakes the other day and I'd seen them on all the Paleo facebook pages I follow, I felt like it was a calling. It was time to try em out. So I'm sure you are wondering what those two ingredients are? Well, you take two ripe bananas and mix them with four eggs. They said to use a mixer but I thought a blender was more appropriate. I added a 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder as well as a splash of vanilla and some cinnamon....because otherwise you've made banana eggs. I greased the pan with coconut oil and they came out pretty good. More like crepes than pancakes but I love crepes so it was a winner. I'm thinking next time I'll embrace the crepe idea and fill them with greek yogurt and sprinkle with cut up strawberries. Yum.

I've been trying to get my 10,000 steps in every day (which is so hard to do when there is 9 inches of snow on the ground) and the only way I can achieve that goal is to get on the treadmill. Well it's the easiest method anyway. Sometimes it's easier to just suck it up and get on there for half an hour a day. I figure I've got 23.5 hours to do everything else. I've been needing a new show to watch (to pass that boring half an hour) and so I started "Orange is the New Black". It's a NetFlix original series and I love it. It's about an upper middle class white girl that gets sent to prison for 18 months. It's got great writing and I'm hooked. I've got to say I'm so sick of FBI, CIA, cop dramas....this is such a breath of fresh air (even if it is a little gritty).

My father, who also had a snow day, called and offered to come pick us up in his Jeep so that we might go ride his new snowmobiles. He recently bought two snowmobiles for use up on the mountain around their retirement cottage. They haven't moved up there yet and this storm provided a nice canvas on which to try them out. I'd never ridden a snowmobile so this was a first for me and the kids. Wesley had a blast and took a ride with everyone and Greta tried it out once and was a trooper. It was a good experience for them. I thought it was great fun and look forward to trying it out again. Thanks Pops!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Keep on keepin on

It would be so easy to focus on how nasty of a winter this is. How the winds howl at night bringing the lows into the negative digits. How there is hardly any sun anymore, and how desperately I need sun. I try to keep busy inside and reassure the little bundles of energy (aka my kids) that Spring is on it's way and we'll soon be running around outside again.....even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today meaning another 6 weeks of winter. Darn groundhog. The other day I got in the car and saw this:

This is about average it seems for morning temperatures when I take the kid to school.  The bad thing about an electric car is that the gas engine runs in these temperatures. It runs a lot. My average mpg is 67 right now, down from 165. I say this while smiling because that mpg is still super cool even though I have to buy gas.

The animals are all doing ok this winter. I can tell they are all ready for spring as well. The big dogs have become indoor dogs and spend their days lounging on the couches. The cats have remained outdoor animals (since I value my marriage) and I can always tell how cold it is depending on how many cats are crammed into the little wool bed outside on the deck. Today was a "two cat day" so I knew it was in the 20's. When it's a three cat day it's bitterly cold. At night they get put in the shop and cuddle up in the hay. I have peace of mind knowing they aren't getting eaten by coyotes too.

Sean has been passing the time out in his heated shop working on the Range Rover. It's pretty much ready to go. He's been tying up a few little loose ends....headliner issues, burned up light bulbs and a few more chewed through wires. I think a couple more weeks and he'll start putting miles on it. That will be fun.

The kids have found out how much fun games are on the tablet. About once every few weeks I get on the Google Play Store and we download a few new games to play. Greta gets the preschool learning games and Wesley likes the racing games. Together they play matching games and have a blast.

I'm kind of in a blogging rut, there isn't much of anything going on. We're all just trying to stay warm these days. I don't want to dwell on anything because I know there are people all over the country with worse weather than we have and with all the problems that come with prolonged cold weather. One lady blogger I read on the east coast has had her pipes freeze and been without water for weeks. She has to visit her neighbors house to lug buckets of water home to her livestock. I can't even imagine. I feel so lucky having a warm house with no frozen pipes (knock on wood) and a healthy, happy family.  Stay warm everyone!