Monday, April 29, 2013

Lazy weekend

Nathaniel had to work Saturday, so the kids and I had a pretty lazy weekend.  Lydia discovered the boys' felt boxes, which my sister and brother-in-law made for them several years ago:

Those gave her loads of entertainment.

Also, the chicks finally got brave enough to go outside.  They happily explore the yard now, and they will eat out of our hands.  I'll have to get some more pictures of them some time this week.

I also planted some tomato plants in the garden, the red cherry ones and some hybrid mystery pack I got for free.  I plan on planting more this afternoon.  Nathaniel tilled the big garden for me Friday night, so I'll have lots of area to plant now.

Malachi attended his first sleep-over Saturday night and had a great time.

And wonderful news!  Nathaniel walked the yard with me yesterday and showed me a great place to plant several trees.  I kinda forgot that it is part of our yard.  Anyway, we ordered the "postage stamp orchard" for that spot, which is 6 dwarf fruit trees you can plant on a 10' x 20' space.  It includes a plum tree, a red delicious apple tree, a yellow delicious apple tree, a peach tree, a cherry tree and a pear tree!  And we ordered 2 persimmons and a mulberry, because you know I'm a little crazy about fruit trees, and those can go in the 3 spots I'd been eyeing for plum or peach trees.  I do find myself wondering if next year I can plant a pecan tree....

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hens and Chicks

It's supposed to rain all weekend.  It's been really cool, too, and Leaf has been molting, so not only is she missing most of her back feathers from the (late) rooster's attentions, but she's also missing her underfeathers now.  I decided that she needs to be back in the coop, so last night, I opened the doors.

The chicks are terrified of the hens.  Leaf seems pretty spooked by the chicks, too.  Crest ignores them unless one gets too close, then she pecks at it, but she doesn't chase.  They are all alive and well this morning, so I think it went ok.  I opened the door to the second chicken yard, and the hens are out scratching.  The chicks aren't brave enough just yet to go outside.  One will go to the doorway, look out, then zip back into the coop.  It's cute.  It hasn't started raining yet, and I don't know that any chicks will get up the courage to actually explore the yard today, but the hens are really enjoying it.  I think it's going to work out all right.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Planting and dreaming

Well, this weekend didn't go exactly according to plan.  Malachi got a stomach bug, and Nathaniel pulled a muscle in his back, so there was a lot less work getting done around here.  Lydia and I have transplanted some broccoli and brussel sprouts into the garden, though.  So far, we've planted a dozen of each in the garden.  The four broccoli plants I put in the strawberry patch are doing fine, too.  And, surprise! some of the strawberries are looking great now, and there are about 25 plants, which is far fewer than the 75 I had planted, but still more than I thought I had left.  Maybe we'll have a few berries, after all.

I've been dreaming about fruit trees since we moved here.  I'd really like a little orchard, but I obviously don't have room for that here.  So I've been scouting the yard for good spots for fruit trees and trying to decide which fruit trees to plant.  I'd really like to plant 3 trees, but I'm having a hard time coming up with three good spots.  One of the spots I thought might work turns out to be in the field bed area, so that's a no-go.  Nathaniel and I have been really considering plum trees, which means we'd need two.  Elijah has been lobbying really hard for peach trees.  I'd love to have one (in addition to the plums), but space is an issue, so we'll see.  I need to have Nathaniel walk the yard with me again and see what we can come up with.

One highlight of the weekend:

Lydia helped me make Bulgarian Pitka bread, which was delicious!  Basically, it is homemade crescent rolls with honey and butter inside them piled up in a pan and baked for a pull-apart bread that's delicious dipped in honey butter.  I found the recipe here:  and thought it looked like a good thing to try.  I was right.  And now I can use the basic dough recipe to make regular crescent rolls, which are Nathaniel's favorite and not one that I've ever attempted from scratch before.  Lydia really liked brushing the melted butter on the layers.  She's into being a helper lately.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Purple Muffins

No need to adjust your monitor; these muffins really are that bright, neony purple (and no food coloring).  Have you guessed yet how they got that color?  My kids didn't, so that was probably a good thing.  Nathaniel, Lydia, and I really enjoy these muffins.  The boys deemed them "ok," and they ate some for snack.  That's a pretty solid review from this household!

Purple Muffins

1 egg
1/2 c applesauce
1 T olive oil
2 T water
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c wheat flour
1 T wheat germ
2 T ground flax seed*
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c mini chocolate chips (or regular ones)
1/4 - 1/2 c blueberries
3/4c grated beets (about 1 medium beet, peeled and finely grated)

Mix it all together.  I add the blueberries last so that they aren't all totally smushed.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes for mini muffins or 16-18 minutes for regular ones.

* I have been experimenting with adding fiber to our diets, and ground flax seed is good for that and other reasons, but if you don't have any, you can leave it out or substitute a bit more wheat germ.

Etsy Finds

Good morning!  The boys are at a chess tourney, so Lydia and I are home alone today.  I have been looking at the Castteam etsy items today.  Check these out:

Personalized / Photo Noah's Ark Storybook

Cake topper Rose and Chinese jasmine gumpaste sugar edible wedding bridal Mother's day Easter keepsake

Paper Bead Coil Bracelet, Sunflower Yellow Striped

Fishing Verse Plaque. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.  Psalm 55:22. Mark 1.16-18

Heritage Child's Cup and Bowl Feeding Gift Set with Brown Puppy

The Lime Green & White Chevron Infinity Scarf - Jersey Knit Cowl -

I'm a member of the Castteam (Christian Artists Street Team), and we're promoting each other's items today.  Happy shopping!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Getting Feathers

I haven't mentioned the chicks for a few days.  They grow so fast at this stage.

The chicks are in that half-feather/half-fuzz stage, so they look a little weird.  Lydia isn't fazed, though!

They are all over the coop, flying a few inches, running, jumping, and very active.  They eat a lot, play a lot, and sleep a lot.  You know, they're toddlers!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


My list of blessings for today:

1. The friendly and efficient people at the county clerk's office.  I just realized that I ran out of certified copies of our marriage license.  I thought it would be a long wait and a fee to get more, but they are mailing 2 copies out for free for me today!

2. My Mama, who's picking up some more paperwork that we need for USCIS.  (government approval to adopt)

3. My husband, who has been working his butt off to rip up the carpet and get it ready so we can lay more flooring  tonight:

You can see the black area where we're laying floor next.  There is still carpet to the far left.  We're doing our room in thirds, as we are moving furniture around rather than hauling it out of the room. (And when I say we, it's mostly Nathaniel moving all that heavy furniture.  I can't budge the dressers or the bed.)  It will look great when we're done, but right now, our room is a disaster!

4. My kids, who make me smile every day, even days they drive me crazy.

5. Spring!  Sure, it's rainy today, but when I look out my window, I see bright green, and check out this tree in my front yard:

I took this picture right here at my computer desk.  This tree is what I see when I look out the window here. I thought this picture turned out especially good when you consider that it was taken through a window with a screen on it!

6. Maddie, who is coming to babysit Friday night so Nathaniel and I can go out for our anniversary!! I am so glad that I've found someone I can trust to watch the kids, plus there's that benefit of the fact that her mom is my friend and lives nearby, so if anything came up, Maddie has quick backup.

I'm feeling very blessed today.  I hope you all see God's blessings today, too!

Monday, April 15, 2013

In the treehouse

This weekend was beautiful, and the kids were able to spend a lot of time outside.  Of course, that included time in the new tree house.

It is the new base for the boys' nerf gun wars.  Nathaniel or I will stand on the ground and we'll have a shootout.  The kids also were able to show the treehouse to Nathaniel's parents yesterday.  They stopped by on their way home for a few hours, and we had a nice afternoon together.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Painting the Treehouse

A few days ago, Nathaniel and I added walls to the treehouse.  Today, the boys started painting it:

The treehouse has been a big hit with the kids.  They are looking forward to showing it off to their friends.  

Nathaniel and I also started working on the floors in our room, but we're on break right now due to Lydia's nap.  So hopefully, we'll make some more progress in a while.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chicks and Carrots

Well, we've moved the chicks to the coop.  They were starting to get out of the box, so it was time.

Lydia loves it because it's much easier for her to catch them.  (She couldn't reach them in the box and had to have help.)

As you can see, they now have tons of space but are mainly hanging out in the far corner.

As for the hens, they are in the small yard with a new shelter.  This picture was taken before Nathaniel killed the rooster.  The hens are freaked out about not being allowed in the coop, but this yard is secure and it will only be for a couple of weeks.  

Today I was very busy sewing doll purses.  I set up my machine at the kitchen table since my room is torn apart right now.  We plan on working on the wood floors in the morning.

And lastly, I took a picture of some of our rainbow carrots.  Last year, I bought seeds for red, purple, yellow, and orange carrots.  We've been able to eat some of the orange and purple, and Elijah got the only yellow one that was ripe enough.  The purple are good, but the orange are super sweet.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Spring is finally in evidence full force.  The hyacinths and daffodils are blooming.  Our trees are starting to bud out.  The durn squirrels ate all the tulip bulbs, so there were no tulips this year, but it is getting prettier here all the time.

All this lovely weather has me thinking about the garden.  Those broccoli plants I planted outside look great. If the squirrels haven't bothered them by this weekend, I'm going to plant some more there.  I'll have some in the garden, too, but I may as well use what space I have, since I tend to stuff the garden with tomato and pepper plants.

My seedlings in the sunroom look great.  They are growing.  I planted some basil seeds, too.  I need to plant some more seeds in pots this week, so I can get more things ready to transplant outside.  Nathaniel plans on tilling up the garden this weekend (weather depending), but I won't be planting tomatoes or peppers out just yet.  The broccoli and brussel sprouts can go on into the garden, though, and maybe a few peas or beans can be planted from seed outside.

I'm very sad to note that the large willow tree in our backyard is not turning green like all the other willows around are.  I'm afraid we've lost another one.  There were so many willows here when we bought the house, but we've lost all of the big ones now.  There are still some by the pond, and they look healthy, so I hope to still have willows.  I do really like them.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Just beautiful

The weather this weekend has been just beautiful!  We've been getting some things done while still enjoying the warm sunshine.  Yesterday, we were at a historic site, where we enjoyed walking the gardens:

Do you know how hard it is to get these three to take a decent picture together?

Nathaniel started work on a tree house for the kids.  They are so excited.

And in gardening news, I've had great success with broccoli and brussel sprout seedlings, but I didn't have any tomatoes popping up.  I was seriously considering starting over, when a few days ago:

And more have sprouted since this one.  I've got a few seedlings for Better Boy, Brandywine, and Kellogg's breakfast tomatoes.  I've also got a few cherry tomatoes.   I'm so very happy!  I still will probably buy some plants at the farmer's market in May, but at least I've got some tomatoes already growing, and since I used seeds leftover from last year, they are free!

Since the squirrels attacked the strawberry plants, I transplanted a few of the broccoli seedlings into the empty strawberry beds:

I'll monitor those and see if squirrels also like broccoli plants before I decide if I'll plant more there.  I've still got most of the seedlings in the playroom.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Zoo day

We're really enjoying spring break.  Today we went to the zoo, and the kids were really disgusted with me when they realized that I didn't bring the camera.  Oh, well.  It was cool this morning, and it was nearly empty for the first half of the zoo.  It didn't start to get crowded until we were almost done.  The kids (and I) got to touch an elephant tusk and snow leopard fur.  That was pretty neat.  Also, we got to see an elephant tooth up close.  It's about as big as Lydia's head.

When we got home, I did take a picture of Malachi's outfit for the day.  He came in wearing the Irish soccer outfit, and I pointed out that it's too cold for shorts, so he added the red pants.  He says he should have worn this outfit for April Fool's day, because it looks like Christmas.  Add the skeleton jacket and orange sandals (with socks!) that he wore to the zoo, and he had quite a look going.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Egg dyeing

I realize that it is after Easter, but we didn't dye eggs beforehand because we decided to go visit family out of town at the last minute, so today we dyed eggs.  

It's a really fun activity, even if you do it the week after rather than the week before!  I boiled a dozen for each kid, so they had tons of fun dyeing a whole 12 eggs a piece.

Do you notice how wild Malachi's hair has gotten?  I can't get it to lie down at all.  I think it's time for a haircut!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


 Well, we went to Tractor Supply today, and now we have chicks:

We bought 20 barred rock chicks, which are straight run (boys & girls), and 10 red sex link pullets (all girls).  This should set us up for great egg production come November or December, and we'll have some roosters for meat, too.  Our current three chickens are in the coop.  The two hens lay eggs nearly every day.  The chicks are in a cardboard box in the garage, and they'll stay there for at least a couple of weeks.  They need the warmth and protection since they don't have a mama hen.  Oh, and the guy at Tractor Supply taught me 3 ways to sex chicks, in case we want to know.  He said he's really not supposed to show people, but it was interesting.  Maybe I could even figure it out myself.  I don't think it would do you much good if you were buying from a place like Tractor Supply, where you don't get to physically pick out your own chicks, but it would come in handy elsewhere, including just for us to know about our own chicks.

And I hope everyone had a happy Easter.  We sure did.  

He is risen!