Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Goodbye to Zebra 4

Well, we are down to 10 chickens.  Zebra 4, as our sons called the Barred Rock Rooster, had to be killed Thursday when Nathaniel got home.  He had started associating Lydia with a hen and was dive-bombing her back when she was in the yard.  We do miss him; he was terribly friendly and smart for a chicken, but of course we can't have roosters flying at Lydia.  So now we have 9 hens and 1 rooster.  Nathaniel also clipped the wings of the hens because we were having trouble keeping them in our yard.  They've been staying in the fence since then, so we're hoping they stay put from now on.  We don't want our chickens bothering the neighbors!

On the plus side, we've been getting 3 to 4 eggs a day from the hens.  The barred rocks and ameruacanas are laying.  I'm not sure about the Rhode Island Red, and I'm really pretty sure that the buff orpingtons are not laying yet.  Despite the trama of losing the lead rooster and having feathers clipped, we are still collecting eggs!  I'm really excited that all of our eggs are now coming from our own hens.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wrapping Paper

 Yesterday Lydia was able to paint on the easel in the driveway.  She made several nice pictures that are now serving as wrapping paper.  Today it's raining, so we set up shop on the kitchen floor with crayons.  She's been busy making more wrapping paper.  It's an easy, creative craft she enjoys, just like her brothers used to.  Actually, sometimes they still participate, especially when I break out the paint.  I thought we were out of large paper (which is all left over from moving), but I just found another stash in the basement, just in time to make Christmas wrapping paper.  Some sheets are brown; most are white.  Either way works great.  I haven't bought wrapping paper for at least two years, because between the kids' art and the now-dwindling big box of wrapping paper Nathaniel brought home from work for free a few years ago, we've had plenty of wrapping paper.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Program

Lydia is to the far left, dressed as a camel.  She sang and did the motions to Away in a Manger and Jingle Bells like a champ in front of a packed sanctuary!  She was all smiles.

When Ms Laura asked Malachi to be a wise man, he replied, "Well, that makes sense cause I'm really smart."  My kids do not lack self-esteem! 

I "directed" the nativity.  The kids (ages 4-7) did great.  They also played "The First Noel" with handbells, and you could tell what song we were attempting to play! 

Listening to the big kids sing

Elijah played the chimes and sang 3 anthems. 

We got to see Santa at the boys' school.

Malachi talked and talked to Santa!

And one more thing- we got a blue egg!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Egg news

At least 3, probably 4 of our chickens are now laying.  Today was the first day I got 2 eggs out of the nesting boxes, and one was not from a Barred Rock hen, so either the Rhode Island Red or one of the Buff Orpingtons is laying now.  (No blue or green eggs, so the Ameruacanas aren't laying yet.)  One of the Barred Rock hens is now laying full-sized eggs.  It's pretty exciting news to us!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lydia and Katie

Lydia Quote of the Day: "Mommy, Katie just sneezed like a people.  Can I get her a tissue?"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chicken Pictures

Malachi had a lot of fun yesterday taking pictures of the chickens.  Here are some of his favorites:

He loves that they play in the knocked-over soccer goal.

Chickens about to escape

He calls this the "chicken tushy" picture.

And in other news, Elijah went to his first chess tournament yesterday.  He only started playing about 2 months ago, but he got 2nd place out of 15 kids!  He was very excited.  Nathaniel says he's turning into a pretty good little chess player!

Monday, November 28, 2011


 Wednesday morning, we were packing and getting ready to head to my in-laws when I found this lovely egg.  It was in the nesting box, right where it should be, and we were so excited to get our first egg.  When we came home yesterday, four more eggs were waiting for us!  You can tell which ones they are in the carton below, because first eggs are typically small:
We were surprised that they were that big, though.  We had expected them to be smaller at first.  We're not sure which hen(s) are laying, but Nathaniel suspected the Rhode Island Red was the first one, from her behavior.  This morning when I went to let the chickens out, one of the Barred Rock hens was sittting in the nesting box and didn't move out with the others, so I assume she's laying.  Fun, fun!
We had a great Thanksgiving weekend.  The boys went with their grandparents to cut down a tree:

 Lydia is usually such a Grandpa's girl, and she still is, but this weekend she gave Grandma a lot of attention, too:
 We played Mexican Train Dominoes.  This picture cracks me up because it looks like Nathaniel and Ben are concentrating so hard!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Easy Thanksgiving Craft

Last Thursday, the boys went to Afterschool Adventures at the library and came home with a cute craft:

It's hard to tell, but they took little pumpkins with the stem area hollowed out, and glued a candle there.  Then the kids glued little berries, leaves, twine, etc to decorate it.  The boys were thrilled with it, and they will make a great centerpiece for a Thanksgiving table!

In other news, my passport came!!  I'm very excited about our anniversary trip to Italy in March.  I never thought I'd be thankful that Nathaniel earns so many miles traveling for work.  

I've been very busy with my etsy shop lately, and I'm excited that I've been able to add to the adoption fund.  Sales have been picking up for Christmas, and I've been adding new things.  It's been fun.  I'm also working on some Christmas gifts, and I'm still painting my kitchen cabinets white.  So much to do!  And we leave tomorrow for my inlaws for Thanksgiving.  Whew!  It's busy here, but going well.  (I really wanted to have the cabinets done before Thanksgiving, but I there's no way that can happen, because even if I got the painting all done, we need to special order two hinges to replace the broken ones, and then spray paint all of the cabinets' hinges.  So hopefully, that will all happen in the next couple of weeks.)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

P.S. We've been intentionally working on talking about how many blessings we have and what we're thankful for lately, and so if you get a chance to talk to the kids, be sure and ask what they're thankful for.  Sometimes it's the usual (family, friends, dog, etc) and sometimes it's funny and surprising.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkey Craft

Gobble, Gobble!  This cute turkey was made by my 3 kids (ages 2, 7, and 8).  It is an easy craft idea that came from my wonderful sister.  I cut out 2 cardboard circles and let the kids glue fresh leaves to them.  (Note: Don't use crinkly leaves.  They should still be pliable.)  Make sure to glue some sticking off the cardboard for the tailfeathers.  Then I glued the small circle onto the big circle and let it dry.  Next, the boys cut out eyes, feet, waddle, and beak from cardstock (construction paper would work, too) and Lydia glued them on.  Wha-la, one easy Thanksgiving decoration.  I've thought about taping a piece of string to the back so he can be hung on the wall, but right now he looks pretty good just lounging on the mantle, sorta leaning against the wall.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cabin Fun

Check out how big the log pile is!  The boys loved playing on it.

Here Lydia is on "her" tree.  She walked up and down it over and over.

Fishing with Pa in the wind.  Elijah learned how to use an open-face reel and caught a large mouth bass.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chili and Misc

Well, Nathaniel's back for a few days.  The kids are so happy.  I've been busy sewing and adding to my etsy shop in between managing everything else. 
Yesterday it was rainy and windy....and a perfect day for chili!  I used to always make my mom's chili recipe (with my Grandmommy's elbow macaroni thrown in) but we've moved so much that finding the brand of chili mix she uses is not always possible.  So I've tweaked it and made up my own, which is very similar to Mom's but also adds some more vegetables (which no one around here has noticed!). 
So here it is, basically:
2 c pinto beans (mine were cooked from dried, but canned works just as well)
2 cans red beans
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1/2 of a bell pepper, minced (Lydia and I ate the other half raw.  Use red if you want it to blend in better.)
1 c pumpkin puree (No, really, no one will taste it!)
1 c tomato sauce
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
about 1 1/2 c elbow macaroni
1 T taco seasoning
2 T chili powder

Brown the ground beef and onion in the bottom of your soup pot.  Drain if necessary.  Add spices, garlic, pepper, pumpkin, and tomato sauce and stir well.   Then add beans and water, about 3 cups, but more if you like your chili less thick.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, for any time from 10 minutes to all day.  (If you go for a long time, you'll have to occassionally add more water.)  About 15 minutes before serving, increase heat to high and add a cup or two of water and the macaroni.  Serve when the macaroni is cooked.  For really good chili, add shredded sharp cheddar cheese to each bowl.  Yum!
I make my own taco seasoning and keep it in a container in the pantry, but you can use ready-made just as easily. 
I use wheat elbow macaroni.
My pumpkin puree is homemade, but again, canned works great.  I often have an extra cup because like the store bought kind, I usually have 2 c per container and I often use 1 c for pumpkin muffins and then have 1 c leftover.  Pumpkin really is a powerhouse of nutrients, so I like to put it in things.
I always make my chili really thick, so add more water if you want it a little more soup-like.
You could easily use the whole bell pepper, it's just that Lydia loves raw bell peppers right now.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Well, I think I owe you all a chicken update. Right now we have 11. 1 rooster we are keeping, 9 hens, and 1 black chicken that I'm afraid is a rooster, but I keep hoping.

This is the barred rock rooster we're keeping.

The one on the left is our only Rhode Island Red.  On the right is an Ameruacana.

These rings have been a bit hit.

Buff orpingtons

This is the black one I'm afraid is a rooster.  See his tail?  Roosters' tails develop big feathers that droop.  Hens don't.  Also, green feathers are usually present in roosters, not hens. 

And one last Halloween picture, because they look so cute!


Monday, October 31, 2011