Sunday, April 29, 2012

Baby oh baby...

The weather has been a little crazy again around here...and we've been scrambling to get all our strawberries and precious plants covered each night when warnings of frost come our way.

We even saw some sleeting rain during Grace's opening softball day on Saturday...
it was a little cold, which I is why I was worried about the girls above and these little ones.
They were born Friday night...the night before the cold, cold rainy and windy day on Saturday.
We had a single born to a new ewe.
And triplets born to a seasoned one.

I guess once a mother always a mother.  I fretted about these little ones all night.  In weather like this...triplets were gonna need a lot of praying to survive.
But they did!  We went out today and they were all bouncing around enjoying life.
The rest of the moms are ready to pop, and they just look plain uncomfortable.  I hope it's over for them soon.
I guess that's what spring is for...crappy weather, and BABIES!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A heavenly smell and a small project

I have not had a lick of time to make a project lately, and that saddens me more than you can imagine.

BUT, that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about a small one for awhile now.

I actually got a part of it the other day when Evan and I were at Wal-Mart.  It was less than $3.

It all begins with this little 'ol notebook that will fit in my purse.

It will become my "design board" but in a much smaller format.

You know what I mean when I say design board...right?

It's all the things I either pin on to make for my future etsy store, or project ideas I have based on things that inspire me.  It can be anything from something as simple as a color I like, or a flower that is my favorite.

Take for example, some of these "design boards" that I like.

This next one minus the creepy lady...
and finally...

So, when I see something in a magazine, I will cut it out and tape or staple it into the small notebook.  If I think of something, I'll sketch it, or write a description of something to look for while I'm out shopping at Goodwill or an antique store, or even a garage sale.   

The purpose of this little have everything I need for future projects in my hands at all times...or at least wherever I have my purse.  I don't want to forget items to look for when I'm out shopping.  That's a waste.

I'll show more later when I have some things posted inside.  It'll be great.  And very helpful.

Oh, and for the heavenly scent...

When we were out moving sheep today, we cut some of these.  One of my most favorite flowers, with the most amazing smell.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

When did I get so dumb?

So, did you know that Amelia Earhart was born in Atchinson, KS?

How about that Kansas is known as Tornado Alley, and the Sunflower State.

Or even that Kansas is a big producer of wheat.

Interesting, no?

Here's one for you...did you know in 1999 that Marilyn Monroe was ranked the 6th greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute?  Or that she was only 36 when she died tragically and mysteriously?

Why am I spouting facts like the Encyclopedia Britannica?

Well, I live with a 5th and 6th grader.  We're in the midst of research and state reports for end of the year grades.

We have math tests/ Science tests/ ISTEP tests, and book reports coming out of our ears.

I don't remember this much stress when I was in 5th or 6th grade.

And since when does 6th grade math kick my butt?  I LITERALLY cannot add or subtract a fraction to save my life.  (And kids, just so you know...I DO NOT use these on a daily basis!  No matter what your teachers may tell you.)

In the next month we will sit through Opening Day for Softball, a 4th-6th grade Music Program, 6th grade graduation, 2 field trips, a 5th grade Spanish Market, and one 6th grade "Survivor Games" at the high school to get ready for Junior High.

My mind is all a twitter with information.

For example, fear grips my daily when I wonder if I've turned in the right paperwork for Grace's schedule for next year...or whether I've added more lunch money to their accounts, or even if I've gotten the paperwork needed for Grace's sports physical this summer.

You know, it's not like there wasn't enough swirling around in my head, just throw in another couple 100 things to do before end of the year May 25th.

Oh well, those of you with full time jobs are cursing me through gritted teeth..."At least you get your summer off!  At least you see an end in sight."  True.  I'm sorry.

It was time to vent.

Is there anyone else out there even mildly perplexed as to how HARD school has gotten for kids anymore?  How a 5th grader is doing the Algebra I once did in Junior High?

No wonder these kids are burning out so fast.

No wonder their parents are too.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A short lived fantasy

When I was all through my high school years, and into college...I dreamed of living in a big city.

Anything other than the tiny little town I grew up in.  I mean, who wanted to live in a town where everyone knew the business of everyone else?

I sure didn't.

The thought of living in a big city was so EXCITING to me, I couldn't think of anything else.  My judgement was cloudy.

Years turned into other years, and I never did make it to the big city, but I sure like to visit it any time I can.

Brent doesn't understand it...but Grace sure does.  And now Evan does too.

It just so happened, that's what we did this weekend, but THIS time it was in all of our interests to "get outa dodge!"

You see, the Detroit Tigers were playing the Chicago White Sox for Opening Weekend and when Brent found this little tidbit of information out...back in February...well, we just HAD to get tickets.  Suddenly the big city was calling his name!

So we did.

We planned to take a ride up on the train, do a little shopping (the kids and I at least...), watch the game, and spend the night in a hotel downtown (something we've NEVER done in all the years we've been going to Chi-town.)

We left early Saturday morning on the train leaving from the South Bend Airport.
We got to Chicago in the morning, and found our hotel...just blocks from the train station.  It was tall, and glass and just plain cool all at the same time.  We were so close to everything!

We did a little shopping, and ate lunch at our standard spot...can't go to Chicago and not eat deep dish pizza, right?
The game was great...we even got free hats when we went in the gate...

White Sox won!  Brent was highly disappointed about that!

Then we went back to the hotel, found a PF Changs for supper, and the kids went swimming.

I stayed in the room and watched the cable TV we don't have at home.

This morning found us eating the hotel complimentary breakfast at 7:30am, then swimming again, doing a little shopping...and heading back on the train to South Bend.  I even got to visit my favorite store..Anthropologie...before we boarded.

We had a great weekend.  I'm ready to do it again...maybe in a couple of months.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nothing a little chocolate can't cure...

I'm in the run-around again. 

So I'm linking you up to one of my spring projects...from LAST SPRING.  Lame, I know, but it's gotta be done.

Currently this beauty resides on my front door, as it did last Spring when I first made it.  It's a staple.  A keeper.  A great project put to use for a couple seasons each year. 

My flower/burlap/ribbon wreath.  First displayed here .

I love it. 

I'm linking up an old craft, cause, let's be honest, with the job change I made a month ago, the sports schedules we keep, as well as 4-H, and just plain 'ol cleaning, grocery shopping, meal making on a regular creative juices haven't been flowing. 

You don't know how SAD this makes me.  I so want to be creative, but I SO LACK the time. 

Instead, tonight, I made some of this...

turn into these for the teacher I work with, whose birthday is TOMORROW!
During snack time we'll get these out and all the kindergartners will sing Happy Birthday to her.  There is NOTHING a kindergartner loves more than recess and birthday parties!

So, forgive me for a recycled project...I will come up with an original one again soon.  I promise.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's all I thought it would be...mostly

Like so many times, I set my expectations too high for my time off of school.

I make lists.

I cross things off lists, and write more lists.

I think of everything I've let go by the wayside since Christmas break, and I write it all down to accomplish over Spring Break.

It's foolish.

I feel foolish.

However, SOME of that stuff got done this week.  And isn't the fact that I got to do this
a little rewarding.  You see, I didn't have to travel down to Florida or Texas, or even California to experience weather in the 60's, and 70's.  It was nice and sunny here everyday.

We got our 4-H pigs

and the kids got them out almost everyday to play around with them.

Grace and Ev each had a friend over to spend the night and then we all went to the mall the next day.  (Whose idea was THAT anyway?  :-)  )

My garden got planted
with three rows of peas
17 red potato mounds..and
47 onions and 2 rows of lettuce.
I planted some pansy's on the porch

and just enjoyed all the sunshine and my time outside.
It was a good time to relax, it was a good time to regroup, and it was a good time to get excited about what Summer Break is going to be all about.

It was a great week even though we didn't make it past Elkhart County.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I need an ibuprofen!

What do you call a truck load of duck mulch (for $20 no less)...
a very willing 11 year old with a shovel...
5 flower beds...
two hours of work and 3 ibuprofen?
Well...almost.  One more flower bed to go.  I ran out of mulch.  But then we're done.  Feels good.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Freezer meals

The other day I posted a list of all the things I hope to get finished over Spring Break.  One of them was making some frozen meals.

One of my followers posted asking for some recipes/ideas for frozen meals.  First, I LOVE when people ask me questions...ask away...anything...I, here goes.

I started this frozen meal thing years ago when my kids were much smaller, when it felt like I had less time...but then again, I wasn't working full time.

The ladies in my Sunday School class would get together and decide one recipe they would make.  Then we would count up how many ladies were in on this, and make our recipe, that many times.

We would bring our dishes, already put together, (but not cooked), and trade them.  There were times I made 10-15 of the same recipe, but I brought home that many DIFFERENT meals for my family and my freezer.  We only made the main dish in an 8x8 or 9x13 container (we all agreed on the size before we made the recipes.)

Today, I don't do recipes in that volume, I only one in awhile double my recipe, and freeze half.  So, no matter which way you do this frozen meal things...for yourself, or in quantity, you'll need these things...
disposable foil pans
2 gallon size freezer bags

Here are also some of the recipes I use that don't require too many ingredients or at least ingredients that aren't too costly.  Since I also freeze my own garden produce, I use some of that to help with the cost...

Recipe #1  Sweet and Sour Meatballs
***Make this in whatever quantity you want...

1 egg
3/4 c milk
1 c shredded cheese
1/2 c crushed Ritz crackers
1 t salt
1 1/2 lb. hamburger
1/2 c flour
4 T olive oil

2/3 c ketchup
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t mustard

Stir all ingredients (except flour, olive oil, and sauce) together in a bowl.  Roll into whatever size balls you like, and put on a cookie sheet in the freezer for 1/2 hour to firm up.  Take out and roll in flour and brown with the oil in a skillet until golden brown.  As they brown, put into whatever size disposable foil container you have.  Stir together sauce and drizzle over meatballs. Cover with foil, put in a freezer bag, and freeze.  When ready to eat, defrost, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Recipe #2   Poppy Seed Chicken
2 lb. chicken, cooked, and cut up
1 can cream chicken soup
1 c sour cream
1 roll Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick butter
1 1/2 T poppy seeds
1/2 t salt

Dice up chicken and place in greased 8x8 disposable foil pan.  Mix sour cream and soup and spread over chicken.  Melt one stick butter in the skillet.  Add crackers, poppy seeds, and salt.  Stir to coat with melted butter.  Put over top of soup/sour cream mixture.  Cover with foil, put in freezer bag.  When ready to eat, defrost and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until bubbly.

Recipe #3   Lasagna
1 jar Prego (your favorite)
1 15 oz. container cottage cheese
1/4 c grated Parmesan
6 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 9x13 disposable foil pan

In 9x13 pan, spread 1 c sauce.  Next, layer 3 lasagna noodles (uncooked), cottage cheese, then 1 c mozzarella, 1/4 c Parmesan, and 1 c sauce.  Repeat with 3 more noodles, remaining sauce, and remaining shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and freezer bag.  Freeze.  To eat, defrost and bake at 375 for 1 hour.

Recipe #4   Taco meat
Brown hamburger in 1 lb. quantities, mix with taco seasoning packet, and freeze in container for later.  Makes eating tacos so much easier because it's already made!

Recipe #5  Tuna Patties
2 small cans tuna
1/2 t Lawry's seasoned salt
1/4 c milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c crushed Ritz crackers
3 inch wedge Velveeta, cut in cubes

Mix all ingredients together and form into patties.  Place patties on greased cookie sheet in freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.  Take out and place in disposable foil pan with parchment paper layers in between patties.  Freeze.  To eat, defrost and fry up in skillet without oil.

Recipe #6  Easy Chicken Enchiladas
2-5 oz. cans shredded chicken, (or 2 lb. cooked, shredded chicken)
1 4oz. can chopped green chilies
8 (or more) corn tortillas (warmed in microwave, and cooled)
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar
1 10oz. can enchilada sauce
9x13 disposable foil pan

Combine chicken , chilies, and 1 c cheese in a bowl.  In bottom of 9x13 pan, spread 1/2 can enchilada sauce.  Fill shells with 1/8c chicken mixture, roll up, and place in pan seam side down, until packed tightly together.  Pour rest of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover with foil and freezer bag and freeze.  To eat, defrost and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Now you have a good base to start with.  Pretty much any casserole that is your favorite, or usually any soup too, can be frozen.  Just don't bake it first.
Have fun!