Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Good Day's Work

We had several projects yesterday.  The kids painted the chicken coop:

Lydia only lasted about 2 minutes, but the boys painted the whole thing.  It was great to see them work together.  I should have taken an "after" picture of the boys.  Malachi especially was covered in paint.  He even had a huge smear in the middle of his face where he had used his paint-covered hand to swat at a bug.  
I was busy, too.  I found some great knit fabric, and I made the boys each a pair of pajamas:

They love them!  I made them too big on purpose.  They like their pajamas a little big, and I want them to fit for next summer.  Malachi's have 3/4 length sleeves because he's always so cold.  (And one shorts leg is not longer than the other - I'm not sure how he had them looking that way!)

Lydia had to have a picture, too:
You see that sly smirk?  Yeah, I get that a lot!

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Day at the Park

Saturday, the weather was really beautiful here.  It was only in the mid-80s, with a nice breeze, and it felt heavenly after all the heat we've had.  I decided that we just had to be outside, so we went to a state park.

Lydia and I enjoyed the playground while the boys played miniature golf.  It was really nice to be able to enjoy being outside in the middle of the day again!  In the shade, it felt really fantastic.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chick and Garden Update

The chicks are doing well.  All 5 seem healthy and happy running around the yard with Sol.  Sol is a good mama, but this time she tries to lead the chicks away from us.  She and they are not too keen on being handled, although she doesn't actually do anything but fluff her feathers and make distressed clucks when I do pick up a chick.  They spend a lot of time in the shady areas of the yard but come running when I pour out treats.  See the yellow chick with the brown spot on its head?  That is Crest.  Elijah named it and has declared Crest his favorite.  I hope Crest is a hen.  

In other chicken news, Fluffy laid her first egg this week!  We were very excited.  She laid it on Thursday, and we actually got 5 eggs that day, from all of our big hens (except Sol) and Fluffy.  She lays brown eggs.

In the garden, I've had some major disappointments.  The pumpkin crop is gone.  When we came back from   our weekend at my inlaws, some kind of bug had bored holes in all of the pumpkins and laid maggoty things inside.  Ick.  The zucchini were lost, too.  I am hopeful that the butternut squash, which is a bit away from where the other pumpkins were, will be able to produce.  I have a nice sized one, but it's not ripe yet and probably won't be for a few weeks.  I hope the bugs leave it alone.  I am still hoping for the cantaloupe to thrive.  I've got several golf-ball sized ones looking good, and one baseball one.  The biggest was lost along with the pumpkins.  

On the tomato front, I'm starting to get 3 or 4 a day, plus a handful of cherry ones.  Lydia and I have been devouring them.  There's still not enough to make salsa or can yet, but I'm hopeful that in a couple of weeks I'll start getting loads.  There are plenty of green ones on my plants.  Today I did buy some at the farmer's market (and a yard sale) because I got a good deal and want to make salsa.  Hopefully, the garden will pick up the pace.  

On the plus side, the peppers have been doing great.   I've had a couple of red ones, and I've had several of these long yellowish ones that have a tiny bit of heat to them.  I've also got lots of green ones that are looking great, but I am waiting to pick them after they turn red.  

That's it for now. I'm off to enjoy this fabulous weather!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sand Art

We have Bible School this week, and I am in crafts again.  Today we did a sand craft that the kids really loved.  Our theme this year is space, so we made planets and space scenes from sand.  It is really easy, and all you need is glue sticks, card stock, a pencil, lids to trace, and colored sand.  (I've heard you can make colored "sand" by using sidewalk chalk to color salt.  We had lots of colored sand at church, so I didn't try that out, though.) Just trace or draw shapes onto the cardstock.  Use a glue stick to fully color in one circle at a time, and then pour your sand onto the glue.  Dump off excess sand and repeat for as many shapes as you want.  Here are my 3 kids' projects:

All of the age groups loved this.  For the preschoolers, we traced circles onto the papers for them and let them do the glue and helped them pour the sand.  (Lydia's picture is in the middle above.)  The older kids had choices of various sized lids to make planets.  They also had the option of free hand drawing whatever design they wanted.  Elijah chose to free hand a space scene:

Malachi enjoyed making the planets by tracing the lids:

All of the kids really enjoyed this project.  We had ages 3 through 5th grade, plus my two middle school helpers were glad that we had enough for them to make one, too!  Luckily, we had lots of adult/youth help with the 3 and 4-year-olds, which is really necessary, but the older kids can manage this quite well independently if given instruction before they start gluing!

Also, the boys finished their lego trifle:

They had a challenge in their Lego magazine to build a food, and they chose a trifle on a blue plate.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chicks, Kangaroos, and Cow Milking

So far, we have 5 chicks.  I thought they should be done hatching, but one of the eggs had a hole in it, and I could see the chick moving inside, so I think more may hatch yet.  Of the 5 that are all out, 3 are yellow (one with a brown spot on its head, which is the kids' favorite), 1 is black, and 1 is brown.  They are delightfully tiny balls of fluff.  We are all very excited about them and hope to find that more have hatched overnight tonight.  

In other chicken news, one of the barred rock hens is limping.  I don't know what's wrong with her foot (it's not a visible wound), but I'm hoping she heals soon.  The barred rocks are my favorite type of hen, and we only have 2 left.

Today, we also visited kangaroos:

We even got to pet one.  They are incredibly soft!  

We also had the opportunity to milk a cow.  The boys opted not to try, but Lydia was eager, so we got in line.  She did produce a small squirt after I showed her how.  She's very proud, and said that the cow milking was her favorite part!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Garden Bounty and Legos

Well, we just got back this afternoon, and here is the haul from the garden.  It's not much, but I'm thrilled that it's getting ripe!
We did make a stop on the way home to the Lego store.  We had never been to one before, and the kids were really looking forward to it.  They had a great time and made some purchases with their own money.  (I also let them make their own figures.)

Also, I just wanted to show that my man can still cut a rug, even when Grandma's in a wheelchair:

And lastly, I have to mention that tomorrow's post will be about chicks.  I just put the chickens up and checked on Sol.  I was expecting the hatch to be tomorrow, but a couple of chicks had just hatched, and more are in process.  I actually saw two, and they were still wet, which means that they had hatched less than an hour ago.  One egg was out from under Sol, and I picked it up.  I could hear the chick inside, so I put it back down to keep on hatching!  The kids will be so excited in the morning when we go out to check on them!  I'm very curious to see how many will hatch, and what colors they will be.  (Of the two I saw, one was black and one was pale yellow.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pumpkins and etc

I ran into my friend Danielle today.  It was a nice surprise to see her and her kids at the free movie morning.  When she asked, "How's your garden?" she reminded me that I haven't posted any garden pictures of the pumpkins.  So I just ran around the garden with a camera!
This is a small sugar pumpkin, and it's already turning orange!

I'm not sure which pumpkin this is.  Some of the seeds were a mix.

I think this one will be white.  Some of the pumpkins I planted are Lumina, which are white.

This is our first cucumber.  Elijah can't wait for it to get a bit bigger!

A cantaloupe - the biggest.  It is a bit bigger than a softball.

We also have smaller cantaloupes.  One is almost the size of a baseball, but most are marble-sized right now.  I am just excited that they are growing.

Unfortunately, my Cinderella Pumpkin plants are not looking good.  I'm not sure why when the others seem to be thriving.

And here is the tomato/pepper garden:

I've only had a few tomatoes so far, and my peppers are just so close to ripe but not quite.   I do have lots of green tomatoes.  The plants are still growing and are not full size yet.  Today, though, I have 3 tomatoes ripe, the most I've had in any week so far, and I'm having a BLT for dinner tonight!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Natural Food Colorings

OK, this may be kinda weird to you, but I've been avoiding food colorings lately, so today when Malachi got out his Kwanza book and wanted to make the cookies in it, I decided to try and color the icing with natural food colors.  I know that doesn't make the sugar-laden icing healthy, but I know that food colorings have been linked to making kids with attention problems struggle more, and we all know that one of my kids is always off in his own universe, so I figure it's worth avoiding but not prohibiting.  Make sense?  No?  Oh, well.  Anyway, here is what I did:
I cut a small beet in half and added about 1/4c of water and then I nuked it for 2 minutes in the microwave.  I added a small amount of the liquid, about 1/2 tsp, to some icing (about a tablespoon).  It made a lovely baby pink color.  It actually doesn't show up as pink in the picture as it really is:
 For the yellow, I added just a pinch of turmeric to some icing.  I wondered if the taste would be off, but there's just so much sugar involved that you really don't taste the turmeric at all.  For the brown, I added a bit of cocoa.  Later on, we mixed the pink with some yellow for a nice light orange, but I don't have a picture of that one.

Malachi and Lydia really had fun decorating the cookies using the icing and toothpicks.  (Note: toothpicks take a long time, so it was good for stretching the activity!)
I also made rolls today, and so I let each of the kids have some dough to shape however they wanted.  That was a hit; even Elijah joined in.

Malachi made angry birds, Elijah made R2D2, and Lydia made a pancake.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Picking Peaches and Nectarines

As you can probably tell, it was very hot (96 degrees) so we picked fast.  The boys are wearing shirts I made.  I also made Lydia's sundress.  I like that they all like to wear clothes I made for them.

We picked 58lbs of fruit, half white nectarines and half peaches.  Many are not quite ripe, which is good because it will take a few days for me to work through all of that fruit.  I plan on making some jam, freezing some, and of course we will eat a lot fresh, too.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lightning Bugs

I had mentioned that I wanted to post the kids' other library craft.

This is a cute and easy craft.  First, you need a Mt. Dew bottle with the label removed.  Next, Wrap three pipe cleaners around the body and twist underneath to make legs.  Cut a piece of construction paper to fit around the body and tape it in place.  Cut paper wings and tape them on top.  Take another pipe cleaner and wrap it around the neck for antennae.  On the lid, glue a small circle of construction paper, and then 2 googly eyes.  Lastly, and this is the really fun part, put a glow stick inside the bug.  They glow well and are really cute to "fly" around a dark room or outdoors.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back Online

I'm b-a-a-a-a-c-k!  We finished the floors in the library yesterday morning, so now my computer is back up and running.  Check these out:
I had never noticed before how close the red paint inside the bookshelf matches the  paint on the walls.  Usually books block that view!

I need to fix the broken hutch door.

Obviously, I haven't put all the books back yet, but that was about all I had the time and energy for yesterday.  Besides flooring, we also spent a couple of hours in the neighbors' pool visiting and swimming.  I did take the kids to the fireworks last night, which was an awesome show.  It's the first time we've been to the fireworks here, since we're often out of town over the fourth of July.  It was also the first time Lydia has been to see a fireworks show other than just driveway fountains, and it was so cute to listen to her exclaim "That's my favorite!" after almost every one.  One of Elijah's friends was there, and he played with him the whole time, so that was great.  Malachi and Lydia had fun playing in the grass until it was show time.