Friday, May 30, 2014

Kids and Chicks

You know my kids, especially the younger two, are crazy about chickens.  Our friends got chicks, so it was off to their new coop we went!

And then today, she had fun with our chickens!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's a good thing...

Thank God our company wasn't here today.  Not because we didn't enjoy having them, but because they would have had an unpleasant wake-up call this morning.

I got up, as usual, at 6 am and woke the boys.  I heard water running in the kitchen and assumed that Nathaniel was still home, but when I got in there, it was obvious something was wrong.   Hot water was pouring out of the cabinet and onto the floor.  I shut off the water and quickly discovered the problem.  A mouse had gotten one leg stuck in the trap and had dragged it to the corner of the cabinet and chewed through the hose to the dishwasher.  It was not fun to clean up the mouse-poopy water, or to dispose of the mouse, but it wasn't until afternoon that I discovered the full damage.

Malachi and Lydia went downstairs to play, and Malachi was complaining that his stuffed octopus was wet.  I soon discovered that water had poured through the air conditioner vent ONTO the guest bed, soaking the mattress and the rug underneath.  (And the octopus, naturally, which was Malachi's main concern.)  So I am obviously grateful that no one was asleep in the bed at the time!

And here are some cutie shots from the weekend:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lydia's Cape

I started working on a dressy cape for Lydia a few months ago, but I never finished it.  I finally got around to working on it today, and Lydia is thrilled:

 I'm not satisfied with the hood, but the cape turned out great.  It's made of black velour on the outside, and the inside is some cotton I had on hand.  It's very full and heavy, so it will keep her warm on the way to church on cold days.

When I was a kid, I loved wearing the crocheted capes over my dresses.  I can't crochet any more (carpal tunnel), but I can sew, so I thought this would make a nice winter cape.  It's plenty long, too, so she could even grow a few inches.  Or not.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chickens in the Tilled Garden

Yesterday, Nathaniel tilled the big garden.  Nearly as soon as he turned off the noisy tiller, the chickens were exploring the fresh dirt!

I let them have their fun, since they are no longer going to be allowed in that space!  Elijah and I have already planted some cucumber seeds and a few Better boy tomato plants.  I still have lots to plant, but I'm taking a break.  Malachi has a friend over.  

I also failed to mention that we got two rain barrels:

And they really do work.  You can attach a hose to that bottom spigot, and we'll be able to water the garden with rainwater.  The first rain we had filled this one right up.

Lastly, I never put on the picture of Malachi bridging over to Weebelos last week.  He was excited.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Seed Starting and Kale Soup

Nathaniel took Malachi kayaking today, so Lydia and Elijah helped me start some seeds in pots on the deck.  Elijah has been very eager to get cucumbers planted, so I let him plant 3 seeds in this big planter:

Last year, we found that the trellis side of the deck works well for some plants that need that, and I think these cucumbers will do well here.  We are going to plant more cucumbers in the big garden, but it isn't ready yet.  Nathaniel is going to till it tomorrow, so I hope to plant seeds Tuesday for cucumbers, cantaloupes, zucchini, honeydew, pumpkin, and maybe butternut squash.  

Lydia enjoyed getting the dirt into the pots for us.  She also helped plant the carrot, dill, cilantro, and lavender seeds.  She's an eager helper in the garden.

We went to the farmer's market Saturday to pick up some vegetables.  At one booth, Malachi exclaimed, "Kale!  Mommy, can we get kale and have kale soup for dinner?"  Of course I said yes.  I'm so happy to have one of my kids get excited over kale.  Both boys love kale soup, which is easy and very nutritious.  This is how I make it:

2 bunches of kale (about 1/2 lb)
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup white beans
1 cup cooked Mexican chorizo (or other sausage)
splash of vinegar (optional, about 2 tsp)

Combine all ingredients in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 30 minutes.  (I usually simmer for an hour or so for more flavor.)  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I have made this with sausage and with some of my homemade chorizo.  Nathaniel and I prefer the chorizo, but the sausage is really good, too.  I serve it with rolls or bread.  This recipe is based off of a Portuguese Kale Soup recipe from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Garden Progress

I've been planting in the small garden again.  The totals in that area are:
19 tomato plants (I plan to add 2 or 3 more there later.)
14 pepper plants
5 brussel sprouts
12 peas
12 crescent beans
17 broccoli
1 cabbage (Malachi's from school)

That's not too bad, I think.  It's very hot, and I'm tired and under the weather from a respiratory infection, so I quit before I put those last 2 or 3 tomato plants in, but I'm very happy with what I've got so far.  The big garden still needs tilled, and there are tons of things that need planted there, but that will have to wait until this weekend.  In pots on the deck, we have 3 blue corn plants, tomatillos, 2 kinds of radishes, and mint.  All of those are looking very good.  I've still got lots of tomato and pepper plants in the playroom that will be transplanted to the garden.  I also have lettuce, carrots, arrugula, epazote, basil, stevia, and parsely growing in pots in the playroom.  All will eventually have to move outside or something, because the summer heat will get too intense for them in that hot room.  I planted dill and cilantro seeds in the herb garden, and the sage is making a comeback.  On the front porch, marigolds are coming up in a pot.  Nathaniel and Elijah both really love marigolds.  We also have lillies of the valley blooming in the front yard.  They smell heavenly!  I was so happy that they survived the water pipe line fix that happened last fall.  We plan on fixing up the area around them into a pretty flower bed, but we haven't done that yet.

Monday, May 12, 2014


We spent the weekend at my inlaws' house in northern Indiana.  We got to see the wedding of two dear friends.  It was such a beautiful weekend!
We enjoyed a tea party on the lawn Saturday morning.  The kids all really enjoyed it, probably because there were several snacks in those pretty dishes!  It was a lot of fun, and I think it will become a tradition.  My mother-in-law has an assortment of pretty tea cups and saucers, so everyone got to pick one.

Just look at my sexy man.  He was the best man at the wedding, so of course he was dressed in a tux. 

I think I'm going to have this picture put on canvas for the wall.  I'm pretty sure it's the best photo I've ever gotten of all three kids!  

Polly's hair was fabulous.  I'd love to have this done to my hair sometime.

My inlaws' yard is full of beautiful flowers.  These are just a few by the front driveway.  Their yard is like a magazine.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Transplanting and trees

I worked in the garden a lot this weekend. Now, my gardening methods aren't the prettiest, but since I'm a rather lazy weeder and the crab grass just won't stop trying, I use newspaper to mulch out my plants.  I transplanted some of my tomatoes (Mortgage lifter and Black Krim) and my most of the Bulgarian peppers into the garden.  I decided to get organized and assigned each type of tomato and each type of pepper a ribbon color.  I tied the ribbon to the tomato cage, and now I'll be able to remember what types of tomatoes are where.  I usually know most of them, but some were always a guess, as the popsickle stick labels always seemed to wash away or get broken.  So this year, I'm trying a new method.  Oh, and the rocks I use to hold down the paper - those are actually all over the small garden.  I think when the previous owners added the sunroom, they just left a pile of rocks there that make digging in my garden a challenge.

The radishes look great.

Now that the trees have leaves, Nathaniel and I have been scouting out how many maple trees we really have.  This year we only tapped 5 trees, but next winter we will tap more than twice that many!  And it turns out that the biggest tree in the back yard is a maple - the biggest maple we have, and one I hope will provide lots of sap.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Book Review - Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

Cover Art

I recently received my latest novel from Bethany House Publishing, Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg.  I read and reviewed her first novel, Made to Last.  I liked her first book, and I had hoped that she would write a book around the character Blake, and this second book is just that.  Many times, reviewers lament that a writer's second book is not as good as her first, but this sophomore effort is excellent.  I liked this book better than the first one!  This book takes up with Blake ("Blaze") returning to his home town after being gone for 6 years.  He was trying to run away from past memories and guilt that he doesn't want to relive.  The story alternates between him and Autumn, a young woman who never got out of her small town but always wanted the chance at adventure.  As they begin to work together on the town's Christmas festival, the complications from their past and their families' disapproval come to light, but neither can deny that they are quickly falling in love.  This was a good, Christian romance.  The characters are very likeable, and their faults and virtues are realistic.  There are several secondary characters that are endearing, too, but some readers may get a bit distracted by the number of secondary characters.  (Honestly, that rarely bothers me, but it can "clutter" the story for some, and in the beginning it can take a while to get everyone straight.)
I highly recommend this book.  I got very little done around here because I was too busy reading!

I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.