Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chicken/Pumpkin News

 Well, since I wrote that Elijah is less interested in the chicks, he has made it a point to be more into them.  Here he is holding Penguin.  He was really proud beause he caught Penguin by himself. 
See how the barred rock chicks are getting white stripes?

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 Malachi wants everyone to know that he has a loose tooth!  He's so excited.  He's never lost a tooth before and has been waiting eagerly for this day.
Look!  Two pumpkins are turning orange.  There are still blooms on several plants, too, as well as an all-green pumpkin. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Millions of Peaches....

Peaches for me!     
Our garage fridge.  We turned it on just for this, and it's a good thing we did!  The small box on the very top holds raspberries, one of the big cardboard boxes holds nectarines, and the rest are all peaches.

We had a blast picking peaches at the orchard!  (And notice Lydia's Mickey Mouse dress.  It's a little big, but that's ok because she can wear it next summer.  I just got it finished; now I have to work on Annabelle's!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Little Pumpkins

I have little pumpkins growing!  The heat has been intense, so the leaves of the pumpkins get pretty droopy later in the day.  I 'm trying to keep them well-watered.
And look at this:

Finally, we have tomatoes that are getting ready to ripen.  There are two orangish ones right now, and several plants look very healthy, so I'm hoping for more soon.  I just love fresh tomatoes. 
The kids picked and ate two cucumbers from the garden yesterday.  I managed to get one slice, and it was very tender and sweet.  Mmmm.  There should be more in a few days.  So all in all, the garden is doing ok.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


 You can see the little feathers on the chicks' wings.  Some have more than others.  The rhode island red or sussex (in picture) seem to have the most, and the buff orpingtons have the least.   They are growing fast.  My youngest two love to check on the chicks.  Malachi likes to observe them; Lydia likes to touch them.  She's doing pretty good at remembering not to just pick them up, though.  Elijah doesn't have the interest in them that the other two do.  (Now he just read that line and objected, "I love the chicks!")
We still have all 24! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chicks and Nieces

 My sister, mom, and nieces came for a visit this weekend, and they were here on Friday when we went to get new chicks!  The girls were very happy with the chicks.  Alaina helped Malachi and Elijah choose them, and the three of them helped me get them settled into the coop.  (The little two were napping.)  Everyone enjoyed seeing the chicks.  We have 24.  The only downside is that they are straight-run, which means that about half of them are going to be roosters, which we will have to deal with in a couple of months.  We got four kinds of chicks: ameriuacana (which lay green and blue eggs), barred rock (the little black chicks), rhode island red (or sussex, we're not quite sure), and buff orpingtons (yellow).  The kids' favorite is the one they call "penguin", for obvious reasons:

Of course, we did a few other things besides play with chicks:

Katie really wanted in with the chicks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back home

Well, we were out of town for visiting family and friends, and a wedding.  We had a good trip, and now the boys are back in swim lessons again, which can only mean one thing:
more tree hugging!

I need to mention that on our trip, we went to the (lake) beach.  The kids had a blast in the sand and water.  When we got back, I hung all our wet suits on the line to dry.  In the morning, Malachi's suit had a surprise:

a cicada shell!  He was very excited and insisted that I take pictures so Nana and Pa could see, too.  (In the lower pic, the shell is actually on the table.  We put it on his shoulder so you can see it better in the other picture.)

And here is our family dolled up for the wedding:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Small, green tomatoes
 I've been waiting impatiently for the tomatoes to grow and turn red.  It's still not time yet... I've had to buy some at the farmer's market to tide me over until mine start producing.  The pumpkins are growing like crazy, and I have seen several blooms on the plants.  The cucumbers and zucchini have blooms, too, but no fruit yet.

One thing I could use now is the stevia, but I'm not really sure what to do with it.  It's a very sweet herb, and it can be used as a sweetener, but I'm not really sure how to try it out. 
We just harvested some more broccoli, which I put into the leftover soup we're eating for dinner tonight.  Of course, I'm going to call it chicken rotini soup, rather than leftover soup.  That sounds a bit more appetizing. 

I've been playing around with my etsy store, adding more items and trying some things.  I'm running a coupon code (JULYSALE) for 10% off this month.  I'm not sure if that will do much or not. 

We hope to get new chicks next week!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the Fly Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Today, I made chocolate cupcakes for the church picnic, but I didn't realize that I had no powdered sugar until I was whipping up the butter for the icing.  I should have probably thought of it; I don't usually keep powdered sugar on hand, as I almost never use it.  However, I winged the recipe, and it worked out great.  The kids were delighted.  So here it is:
6 T room-temperature butter
3-5 T milk or buttermilk (I actually had buttermilk because of another recipe, so I used that.)
heaping 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder

Mix well and enjoy.  It makes enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lots of broccoli

While some things in the garden are not producing as planned (peppers) or growing slower than expected (tomatoes), the broccoli this year has done fabulously.  We've gotten more than ever before, and it all grew from seed we started in the sunroom.  I planted sage near it, because they are supposed to do well together, and sage deters cabbage worms (caterpillars).  It seems to have really helped, because last year we had tons of caterpillars all over the plants, and this year I've only seen a couple.

And as an update to our chicken plans, Nathaniel has trapped 2 raccoons.  We are planning on securing the coop this week, and cleaning it out.  After we go to an out-of-town wedding in just under 2 weeks, we plan on trying again with new chicks.  The kids are so excited, so we hope we have success this time!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blueberry Banana Muffins

My kids basically stopped eating banana muffins a while back, and I still have bananas in the freezer.  So today, when I had extra blueberries (from ones the kids and I picked), I decided to try my hand at creating a new muffin recipe.  Here it is:

3 c whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
4 or 5 mashed bananas
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c blueberry syrup (see note below)
1/3 c apple sauce
3/4 c blueberries (could easily use 1c)

Mash bananas with fork.  Add wet ingredients, then dry.  Mix well.  Add blueberries last.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes for mini muffins and about 15-17 minutes for regulars.  This recipe made one batch of minis and one batch of regulars for me.

Blueberry syrup - I make fruit syrups for pancakes and keep leftovers in the fridge.  This one was about 1c water, 1/2 c maple syrup and 1 c smashed blueberries mixed together and brought to a low boil.  (I don't measure, though, so this is all approximate.)  You can also buy blueberry syrup, but it's pretty expensive.