Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Chicklettes !

"Welcome" to our new additions!

So, guess what I have in my dining room today!!

 ... Six baby chicks.

 Three bantam, three tinted tetra.
We brought them home on Saturday and they are sooo  cute!

So how did this great acquisition come about?       
We had been thinking of getting a few chicks either this spring or next. Also, I had also promised 'Becka and 'Liz an angora bunny as a pet sometime soon. On the way home from the park on Saturday we stopped at Tractor Supply Co. to look at fence panels and, guess what... They had the spring chicks in!!
 Okay, they were cute and all, but we did not have a brooder ready for them and were not planning on bringing they home.  However, I went around the corner and saw a rabbit cage.  Just the right size to hold a half-dozen chicks for a couple weeks while we put together their permanent coop.
So, when the chicks are out of the cage, the little girls are all set to get a bunny.

You know what we will be doing next weekend, building a chicken coop.  I hope to get some pictures up for you  as that gets constructed.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mac & Cheese - Dairy Free

Okay, I really hope the picture looks as good as the original tasted! It came out creamy and rich with no gritty feel like I sometimes get with cheese imitations. I really think the sun dried tomatoes added depth and the spinach kept it from being boring. Next time I make this I will actually try to measure my ingredients - I am sooo bad at that sometimes... Even if you don't make the Mac & Cheese, this basic cheese recipe is really good. It is good as a dip/spread, or in cooking. Can't wait to try it again.

General Directions for the Mac & Cheese

First I started the noodles. Then began with a soy-based cream sauce (roux plus unflavored soy milk) which was seasoned with some pepper and garlic powder. Added about 3/4 of this DF basic cheese recipe (www.dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/basiccheeserecipes) and whisked well. The cheese was still a little thick, so added the water from some re-hydrating sun-dried tomatoes to thin the sauce a little...then decided that the sun dried tomatoes smelled so good, we should chop those up and add them and some spinach. Red, White, and Green all mixed together and smelling like an autumn meal should.
This got a thumbs up from everyone (even my soy-phobic 6yr old). Hope you like it, too.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Moving - again

We will be moving again in about three weeks. I do not like packing. However, I will be able to stay home with the kids again. (Yea!!!) Homeschooling and working full-time, while possible, is very difficult. Still, nothing tests strength like doing something you were sure was beyond your ability and being successful.
Okay, math quiz, how many boxes does it take to a homeschooler's book collection? .... Yeah, I don't know either. One of these days I am going to measure how many linear feet of book-spine I have though. :) I get my love of books from my Dad, and I just can't part with a single one. When I found out we were moving I told myself, "no more books, you have enough to move as it is." But then Goodwill had some science texts, and I had to order school books for the upcoming school year, and .... well, now I have another box to pack. ;)
Guess I'd better get back to work on that, huh?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Saving the World one Pre-schooler at a Time

Today, as I tried to rein in and direct two "under-fives" and two "old enough to know betters", I had a light-bulb moment. A contribution toward the scientific development of renewable resources. One that will light up every city in the continental U.S., eliminate the childhood obesity dilemma, and..... decrease parental psychiatric admissions by at least 25%.

Are you ready?

Imagine a giant generator with multiple storage batteries powered by non-other than a pre-schooler on a giant hamster-wheel. (Come on, you know it's a brilliant idea!!)

Families with multiples may even be able to tap in to this as a source of extra income as they sell the extra energy back onto the grid. Parents could use this to fund the replacement of the multiple items of clothing that are now stained beyond belief with paint, play dough, and who-knows-what.

Need extra electricity? Remember those marshmallow-super-crispies that you refused to buy? Go ahead and give the little tykes a treat and save yourself a cereal isle meltdown.

Now I know some super-brilliant person has probably already come up with the schematics and parts list for this. Probably someone who, at one time, had to babysit a younger sibling, went to university, and is now trying to save the world. (We all know that an actual parent would never have time to put all the parts of this together.)

So, go green. Save the world. Save your sanity. Light up the world.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Utopia - part 2

I finally had a chance to read more of Utopia on the long drive home from vacation.
I had to chuckle as I read through "Book One: The First Book of the Conversation of Raphael Hythloday concerning the best state of a Commonwealth." I kept thinking of Solomons words, "There is nothing new under the sun, but it is all vanity and a striving after the wind." Yes, over the course of 400 years, through various political and religious changes and upheavals, we still have the exact same problems and humans continue to think up 'new' philosophies to fix them. Every so often, I would quote a sentence or two from the book as we drove. It would seem that, except for the antiquated language, some of the 'current events' could have been taken from today's news journals.

The main theme of Book One is how the unequal distribution of wealth has led to societal problems. Also, how the crime/punishment equation being unbalanced was ineffectual (ex. the death penalty for stealing food). Moore recounts how rampant unemployment and homelessness, arising from the greed and shortsightedness of the wealthy, had led to increased crime as 'peasants' try to provide for self and family via theivery. His philosophical answer seems to be a type of socialist/communist ideal where wealth is capped (for the King), acquisition of new government lands is abandoned (no more wars to increase a nation's holdings) and a country's wealth in increased by investing within its own borders. The wealth was then equalized amoung the citizens because all had opportunity to benefit from it. The wealth would be measured, not by one man's holdings, but by the overall peace and prosperity of the citizens as a whole. Thankfully, he is wise enough to admit that while such ideas might be successful in theory (great foder for the minds of philosophers), they might not play out in an actual, workable setting (as can be seen by historical attempts at such governments). The ideals are tempered by arguments about why such a 'perfect' system could not be put in to effect, namely the mis-educated, prejudiced, greedy, and power hungry entourage that surrounds and influences the ruling heads of state. (Hythloday's view of the King/courtiers/advisors - not mine, BTW.)

I could only take this book in small doses. The sentence structure and language really requires undivided attention. More than once, I wished I had a dictionary for some of the older words. Also, knowing by historical testimony that Moore's philosophical arguments were flawed perhaps altered my view of the material from what was intended to be a serious thought-provoking exercise into a tradgic comedy. Seeing that 400 years after his observations, the same basic human problems exist, jaded my objective.

Still, I did enjoy the challenge both literary and mentally. Book Two is significantly longer. I will post more on that as I have the chance to read it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Vegatarian in our midst

I thought it was a phase.
I thought he did not have the will-power to pull it off.
But, after two months, DS12 is still meat-free. Not just "won't eat the pork-chop" meat-free, but "label-reading, won't eat the veggie pizza because the sauce had meat flavoring in it" meat-free.
To be honest, I am not really surprised. He never really liked the idea that the same pig he enjoyed watching at chore time ended up on the table as pork chops. Add recent bit of reading on earth-friendly living, and it was finally enough for him to decide on a vegetarian route. The only reason this had not occurred sooner was because he liked the flavor so much.
Thankfully this is not a new concept for me, which has made it a bit easier. After my second child, for some unknown reason, I could not stand the sight/smell/thought of meat for a couple of years. The four of us were vegetarian for about three years before we started to re-introduce meat back into the diet. All the nutritional research I did then is slowly coming back to me. I am getting back into the groove of planning more meat-free meals. I was surprised at how difficult that was. I guess I had fallen into a meat/starch/veggie rut.
I do want to make it easier for him to be successful. I still have meat in the freezer, and "contaminated" spaghetti sauce in the cupboard that I will have to keep separate. As I weed those out though, I think I will have to look for inventive vegetarian fare that everyone will be happy with - a hard sell with my DD10 who has no intention of following in her brother's footsteps.

Monday, September 21, 2009


On a recent trip to Goodwill I picked up a 1947 printing of the classic Utopia of Thomas Moore. First published in 1516, I had never read Utopia It piqued my interest mostly because it is reference in the movie Ever After. (One of the few movies that I enjoy watching repeatedly.) Back in my younger (childless) years I loved reading classics by Homer, Shakespeare, Austin, etc. Part of the draw was being immersed in Old English grammar, and classic sensibilities. So, when I saw the book, I snapped it up.

I know I am in trouble when even the introduction to a book strains by mental faculties. Wading through the antiquated writing has my head just a little foggy. For example, the first two sentences, each lasting a full paragraph in themselves are 90 and 92 words long respectively. the fourth sentence is slightly better at 75 words. I am plunging forward, however. Thankfully, this edition has sub-text references to help me along. As I move forward, I seem to be remembering the lilt and rhythm of such wordy pleasantries, and finding the meaning and intentions from indirect references. This book will a bit of work to read compared to my more recent books, but I feel it might kick-start my mind a little.

I am bringing it on vacation with me. I am not sure I will get to read much of it, but it will be a start.