Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Adventures in Food

Clunking around in my head this week has been the winners of last year's garden and food preserving.

frozen apples, but freeze with no peels, crisp, oatmeal, cake-this ROCKS
Salsa-I will have to make even more this year, the family LOVES it
Tomato puree-I have some fantastic tomato soup made from scratch with tomato puree
Strawberry jam
Peach jam
Black and Blue Jam (blackberry and blueberry)
Apple Butter-to quote #3, "it is like apple pie on toast"
Dill pickles-the family hates store dill pickles but loves homemade ones, whoda figured?
Green Tomato Relish
Pinto beans
Mango chips (dehydrated)
Banana puree-figured out a way to can those brown bananas that were taking over the freezer
Homemade deli meat
apple pie-frozen, Rebecca came over and taught me and we love having apple pie on demand, in 1 hour

Not Winners-
Green beans canned using frozen store bought green beans, had to try it
Bean and bacon soup-it got funky
Crabapple syrup, only DH and #5 like it
Banberry jam-it is not flying off the shelves like the other jams so they either forgot about it or don't like it

I need another freezer. I don't have enough room to freeze all the broccoli or apples. And, I can't believe I am writing this, but I could use more jars. sigh

Gloomy grey day

I am sitting here with chamomile tea and a coconut washboard (cookie).

School is going well, I just have to keep up with the books and checklists. We have had some interesting conversations about Arabs and Muslims and Islam and all the other stuff coming out of #1's mouth. I am just glad he is at home and we get a chance to correct him.

#4 and 5 are learning to read. Have I mentioned the difference between teaching a boy and a girl to read? OH.MY. Night and day. No joke. The teaching children to read road has been twisty and long. We have tried probably 10 different reading programs on #1. #2 learned to read along the way of #1 not learning to read. #3 essentially learned to read in a week. No joke. With a flashcard method he was learning 50 new words a day. #4 seems to be liking Let's Read but doesn't want to write. #5 doesn't want to do phonics but wants to write everything.

Can I tell you that this girl writes better (penmanship) than her 9 year old brother? Boys and writing, hmmmm, liken that to pulling teeth without novacaine, feeding broccoli to #2 and mushrooms to my DH. They don't like it, they gag. They would rather scrub toilets, ok?

#5 comes up to you and says, "Mom, I don't know how to make a H." I show here in the air with one of my fingers and she writes it down. She draws pictures that have wind currents in them. NIGHT.and.DAY. She says, "Oh, mom, here is C-A-T and I drew a picture to go along wif it."

I can really see God's planning here. If the girl would have come first I would have totally thrown my hands up in the air with #1 and his learning difficulties. I had to wait, wait, wait, wait, wait until that developmental switch in his brain clicked. I had to wait until the kid was 11 before he read.

I have friends who have girls. They write beautifully. They write novels. I have watched secretly longing for just a little bit, teensy little bit of that fine motor skill to be magically transferred to my sons.

still waiting

but that daughter of mine...this is magic.

And magic is needed on this gloomy, grey day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I have been ordered by Dawn to update the blog.

Does she do this to you Natalie?

Sheesh! I have been busy!

The chickens decided to stop laying 18 eggs a day when we had that really cold spell last week. I was worried they were sick. Some of them have some frostbite on their combs but I don't see any with frostbitten toes. Since we are having our January thaw, egg production is up. Just to note, 18 eggs a day in the winter is really quite good. Some flocks stop laying altogether during the winter. We haven't done anything special but put their heat lamp in the shed with them. When it is so cold the waterer freezes up we bring out hot water in the morning and evening.

#3 when collecting eggs on Tuesday took pity on Rocky. He thought he would be able to warm up his comb by holding his comb in his hand. (I mean it works when I hold his cold hands and warm up his fingers, right?) He decided to do this after the eggs were collected and in the basket. One hand holding the egg basket and the other to warm up the rooster's comb. :eyeroll: Rocky didn't like it. Rocky attacked #3. #3 kicked Rocky and 10 eggs were smashed in the process of the brouhaha. He was being sweet; warming up the rooster's comb. :eyeroll:

#2 decided to let an 8 year old beat him in dodgeball with a ball to the nose and a now defunct pair of glasses. Off to Sears Optical to get eye exams and new glasses for the older 3 boys to get grilled from the optomotrist "why do you homeschool? the schools here are so much better than California." #3 doesn't need glasses yet, probably next year.

#5 had a birthday. She is officially "a handful!" Scoff, like she hasn't been since day 1. She chose ham and cheese omelets for breakfast, macaroni and cheese for lunch and chicken and broccoli casserole for dinner. No cake-ICA CWEAM! wif chocwate and whip cweam! Her birthday presents were a girl colored Leap Pad and a Ballerina kit. She loves them.

Grammie sent a Dora birthday card that sings. Her brothers have spent most of the week hiding the card from her because "it is SO annoying mom." Grammie and Poppy are giggling. #2 actually went so far as to text Grammie and tell her "curses on you for sending THAT ANNOYING CARD." She is looking for one for the next birthday, #3's. Poppy texted back and asked what the battery size was so he could give us a dozen batteries to keep it alive and running. (Don't worry Dad-your birthday comes once a year too, and I have resourceful children with computer skills.)

Thursday I taught a Preparedness Class on Cooking With Dry Beans. There were between 30 and 40 in attendance. It was opened up to the entire stake. The handouts and recipes are on my preparedness blog. I am working on getting the handouts pdf-ed/downloaded/linked so the format will be better for printing. I will probably have that done by Monday. The next class will be on February 4th.

Friday #5 and #6 woke at 5:15 am. I was awakened by #6's pillow being thrown onto my face. "Need tuddle mom," murmured our Tornado Toddler as she burrowed under the covers between DH and I. #5 body slammed me and laid on top of me. Of course, they didn't go back to sleep and started having a tickle contest. I was trying to get as much sleep as possible so sent them downstairs to eat a banana. I was rudely awakened by #6 climbing back into bed but covered head to toe in whole wheat flour. I throw on a pair of capris, stumbled around looking for my glasses and grab a sweater and bolt for the kitchen. #5 was using the hand broom and dustpan on the tabletop. Apparently #3 didn't put the flour away the night before and according to #5, "mom, she #6 was thwowing the fwour up in the air wike dis" as she makes air fountains with her hands. Thank goodness the DH walked in from Seminary duty and knows how to run a ShopVac. The girls thought it was really fun to have their hair vacuumed. Really, head to toe in flour. I just looked over and she got flour about 7 feet up. It is on the top of my quilt hanging on the kitchen wall.

Friday night we went to the Hackett's for dinner and game night. As a family of 8 we rarely get invited to other people's homes. They are such troopers! We had a really good time eating spaghetti and playing Blokus. #3 amazed them with his Duplo building abilities.

Other things going on:
-We are thinking about doubling our egg flock to sell eggs for the boys' mission fund.
-We are starting to look into raising a meat flock(s) to sell pasture raised chickens. It would involve also raising steer-pasture raised beef. No milk cows. No.milk.cows.
-#1 and #5 are in counselling. #5 for making sure she understand appropriate touch and who to tell. #1 cause he is really POed about some of the consequences of #5 being molested.
-We have figured out how to make soft cooked eggs in their shells. Everyone loves the novelty of eating an egg right out of the shell with little spoons. #3 loves the fact he can cook an egg anytime in the egg cooker. I just heard him, "MMMM, this egg is purrrrfect."
-I had a really good time in the kitchen gadget aisle of the hardware store. Some of my friends have moved to metropolitan areas-they shop at swanky shops. I now shop at Ace and Tractor Supply and sorta like it.
-I still feel like I don't fit in very well in this ward. All the other moms, all they ever seem to talk about is school; the teachers, the concerts, the transportation, yada, yada, yada. Don't they every read anything? think about anything else?
-The garden is planned.
-DH put in an attic access so my bedroom no longer looks like the Laundry Monster barfed all over.
-I still haven't hung any pictures or windows in the house yet. Who is going to come help me decorate the house?
-The children are lobbying for a new cat. DH hasn't finished his allergy shots yet. I keep putting them off but want to get a puppy and a kitten soon.
-I want to lose weight but just don't know where to even begin.
-School is running at full steam. It took a lot of work to get 5 kids going in the same direction but I have the book shelves organized, the assignment sheets done, project supplies in the house and distractions for the toddler. Now all I have to do is grade their books from last week and print their assignment sheets for next week.
-and #4 has a talk in Primary tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

See that roast chicken dinner over there (to the left)?

We grew him. (and the taters and the squash.)

And he was delicious!

Now I just need to assign #2 the job of building us a chicken plucker and I think we will put on a meat flock this next summer. I don't think we want to hand pluck 25+ chickens. It could be 50+ chickens if my parents get in on it. We have to get the right tools to make it go easier or just take them to a processing place. I will have to start researching the costs for both options.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Find of the Day

a whole banana in the top rack of the dishwasher.

#6 is having a great day!

#3's word of the day

"Mom? Are you sure that is a half day of school?" (looking at the check list on the white board).

I assure him that the list IS only a half day of school.


Ordering Garden Seeds Today

I know.

You would think with the snow gently drifing down I would be thinking something else. Nope! I only have about 6 weeks before broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower seeds need to be started. Plus I have to see how those 2 cold frames are going to work out for lettuce.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Forensic Interview Results

#5 was molested by a family friend. #5 was forensically interviewed on Wednesday. The results are she doesn't remember anything. She isn't traumatized. She charmed all the office staff. What does this mean? no police case can move forward. I can deal with that. I am just so thankful she doesn't remember it as a trauma. She will have additional counselling. We will watch her for any spikes of remembrance and help her if these things pop up.

I am sleeping much better.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Looking a little plain around here

Need decorating help. We took down the Christmas decorations and it is looking a bit bare around here.

I need one of those decorators that use the stuff you have and a couple cans of paint and make it look marvelous.

Just whining. Anyone want to help out? I can post pictures of what I have and the rooms.

And how is it that I can take a pile of junk, sort it, categorize it, file it, put it all away and yet I cannot figure out what pictures to put on what walls?

So, if I have any helpers out there in cyber land. The walls are heavy cream. They are staying heavy cream. I need dashes of color. Persian blue would be a nice color to thrown around here. For some odd coincidence my valances match the walls and during the summer it is colorful enough around here cause I have green beautiful views. And I like that. And I am more on the simple side-modern eclectic traditionalist when it comes to style with some french country thrown in here and there. But things must be practical! I still have 2 Mistresses of Mess who love to climb and I have so many other things to do than keep after them for messing with decorations.

I haven't put up my art deco stained glass windows yet. I don't know if they will look good on the windows that have mullins. All the windows in this new house have mullins. or is it mullions? the dividers in the windows that separate the window into 8 panes. I have a huge clock (I got it free at a garage sale.) I could paint the wood persian blue for a dash of color. It is dark oak now. But I won't paint the stain glass windows-antiques, one side of the window is dark wood and the other is shabby chic old white. I have a water color landscape, our wedding picture, a cross stitch sampler, a cross stitch Home Sweet Home, virtually no knic knacs (see above mentioned children), a quilt wall hanging, 18 5x7 frames that have older pictures of the kids (all same cherry wood), a couple maple shaker boxes, I guess I will just have to find the camera and post pictures.

Forensic interview is tomorrow.

I am trying to keep busy.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Single Parenting

DH is attending his sister's wedding. I am on my own with all 6 kids. It's not bad. I just lower the standards by which things are done. For instance, tonight we had hot chocolate and toast for dinner. Everyone was happy. I didn't have to cook and the dishes were easy.

I am sure I will run into some more attitude from #1 (he already is in hot water-his dish duty has not been recinded, nor will it be any time soon, to his dismay) and more messes from #6 (she was flinging popcorn all over the living room tonight and crushing the paper bowls from which she was flinging it from). Normal life around here but with no one to sleep with or get a back scratch from.

Oh, have I ever told you how much I love my dear husband?


The days are so different. Instead of mess and homeschool teaching I have a DH working from home and quiet until 2:54 when #6 (who is 10)...