Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I believe the Children are our Future

"I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier"

Whitney Houston says it best with those few words. I honestly believe that our children hold the key to our future. It is a war I have with myself and sometimes my husband quite often. I am not 100% sure that their future is best left to the public school system and I question it more and more each day.
Now I realize that many are not in a position to be able to homeschool an we are not sure if that is an option we are wanting to pursue at this time. So knowing that it is very frustrating to me as a mother of 3 young children that deserve a fair education like every other child in this country, to watch as members of our government refuse to send out aid to states to help the teachers be able to keep their jobs. Thus creating larger class sizes and less one on one time with the children. No way to afford to update the books and keep computers current. No librarians in many schools so the library is not available for them to get the information that they need. There are so many ways that this affects our future, but all we hear about from those that are not willing to let the legislation pass is that they need to stop the deficit spending. I UNDERSTAND that we don't want to pass this debt on to our children, grandchildren etc, however if we continue to lower our quality of education because of it, those children, grandchildren etc are not going to have an education that makes them able to compete with foreign countries for jobs that will help to keep this country afloat.
So the next time you hear them talking about not passing this bill or many others that would help in this recession that is hurting SO MANY of our precious children, remember, the lack of money spent today will affect those children in a way that may not be exactly positive either!!


What could be cuter than painted toes on cute little girls? I am not sure I have ever found anything. With summer here we try to paint our nails often, keep them looking pretty and cute and the girls love the added attention to them each individually. Plus its a way to slow down and have some time that is not "farm" related.

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

The girls found a caterpillar the other day and brought in to show me. My first thought was grab the bug house and help them find it some food. Within a couple of days it had formed it cocoon. The girls checked it every day several times a day.
Then one day we looked in the morning and it was not open, but by that evening he had emerged. We had a beautiful Monarch butterfly. The kids got to let him loose and they were sad to see him go but knew it was in his best interest.

Garden Galore

Our garden is doing so wonderfully. I am a bit excited for things to start being ready to harvest. There is nothing like a meal that is has been completely raised on the farm.

We have several little cucumbers on the vines with MANY more blooms to soon become yummy food to eat as well.

We grew 2 watermelons this year and they have several blossoms as well. They are my kids absolute favorite all around and we are hoping for a good return.

Our onions look wonderful. Growing nice and tall and hopefully nice and plump below the surface.

Our cabbages are growing nicely and starting to form small balls of goodness.

The peppers may be small but they are covered in blooms which we all know that means soon we will have lots of yummy peppers to add to salsa and dinners.

The tomatoes are out of this world. Growing nice and large and full of blooms and some with fruit as well. We grew some heirloom varieties and were given a white variety as well. We are very excited to try them this year and see what we think. There are romas for salsa and sauce, big boys and better boys for salads and just munching and then the heirlooms. A sweet delicious tomato is in my future, I can taste it already.

We also grew just enough green beans to be able to go and pick for meals, my parents grow a bunch each year and we share from that bounty. The rule of thumb is they grow them, I can them and we share them for the year. Works well for all involved.

And last but definitely not least we have some broccoli/cauliflower mix. These were given to us by a gal that sells Amish raised veggie and fruit plants. It will be fun to give these a try and see what the family thinks!

And last but not least the strawberries we started from runners from my folks. They are doing great, sending off lots of runners. The best part is these are everbearing and will produce all summer. It will be great to have our June berry variety for making jams and the ever bearing to eat through the entire summer and make wonderful deserts from.

This is how I feel!

I was reading a blog that I really enjoy, farmama, and she said everything I feel and more! I wanted to share it with you all.
Hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

French Bread

The other day the kids were begging for spaghetti with meatballs and all I could think of was how great french bread sounded with it. So last minute I decided that I was going to make some up and if it put dinner a bit late we would make due. Whats the worst that could happen? Kids in meltdown, we know how to work through that! So off we went.
I have my go to bread book, an oldie but a goodie!
It is Bread & Soup Cookbook put out by Culinary Arts Institute with a copyright of 1978. My mom picked it up for me at a garage sale and let me tell you, it gets a work out at our house.

The recipe was so simple:
5 1/2 to 6 cups flour
2 pkgs active dry yeast or 2 tbsp
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups water (very hot tap water is what I use)

Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
Add water and mix on high until well mixed, about 3 minutes.
Slowly add in flour until you get a soft dough.
I then add a bit more, put on my kneading hook on my kitchenAid mixer and knead it for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Turn out onto a floured surface, split in 2 and roll each section out into a 15 x 12 rectangle.
Roll each rectangle up tightly, starting at one 12 inch end. Be sure to pinch your seams, taper the ends, fold to bottom and make sure tightly closed.
With a sharp knife, make 1/4 inch deep diagonal cuts along loaf tops.
Cover, let rise until less than double in size (around 20 minutes)
Brush with water.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes,
reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
For a crisper crust, put pan of hot water in bottom of over and 5 minutes before the loaf is done, brush with glaze of 1 beaten egg white and 1 tbsp cold water.

This made for a really nice loaf of french bread, nice moist chewiness on the inside with a great crust on the outside.

NOTE: I added 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1/2 tbsp onion powder while it was mixing together for the added flour, just perfect!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tree Damage

The stormy weather has been very hard on our trees lately. It was just a couple of days ago that we had a tree fall on our strawberry patch. That same tree was then pushed off the strawberries last night by the wind from another storm. Very scary to think that the wind can push a tree that has already fallen.

Then today when we were out working around the farm we noticed that another tree had fallen, right onto an auger that we are preparing to have removed from our farm. Rather than sitting at an angle with one end on the ground, the auger was parallel to the ground.

We had to move the auger out of the way to let the tree finish falling as to not have it be a danger to the kids when we are outside. We were very lucky in that it could have fallen right onto our chicken coop creating a lot of work for us in repairs, but instead fell just to the front of it, only pushing a little on it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Play dough and Modeling Clay

So it was way too hot and humid to play outside today. When your 5 year old looks at you and says "its hard to breathe outside today mommy," you know you have problems.
So I decided it would be a good day to stay inside, make up some play dough and just have good "clean" indoor fun.

We tried out 4 different recipes and I thought I would share with you what we thought of them and the recipes and links to where we found them.
The first one we tried out was from Pioneer Thinking. It is recipe 1.
I really liked that this one did not require any cooking so it is something that the kids can easily help make, and that it didn't have any ingredients that we may not have in the house at the time. But it has to be stored refriderated which is not nearly as simple as throwing it in a baggie and stuffing it in the box. I also felt that while it was probably the nicest to work with for an adult, it does dry out the quickest.
The next one we tried out was recipe 3 from Pioneer Thinking.
This one was one of the kids favorites to play with, that makes it a winner in my books.
However, the cooking process was a bit harder in my opinion, but maybe I am just a wimp when it comes to stirring things that get so stuff you can't move your arm in a circle. It also needs to have cream of tarter which I don't always have in the house.
We then made up the Kool-aid Play Dough from The Holiday Zone.
This one basically doesn't require cooking other than a cup of boiling water. It smells great and it doesn't stain the hands when you are mixing it in. The kids loved making this one.
The last one we played with today was Perfect Play Dough from The Holiday Zone.
I have to say as far as making it up this was my least favorite. I don't like using the microwave for this sort of thing and it just wasn't much fun. However it was very nice to play with once it was cooled down enough to play with. I also did not like that it called for liquid food coloring. I much prefer to use my wilton cake dyes to color things, it is much less messy and leaves it with less of a sticky feeling.
All in all we had a good time, but I can say that I am not a fan of the salt feeling it leaves on my hands~!
Here are a few of the creations.
The girls each made kitty cats and Mama made a flower and then Araya had to try that out as well.

Glad we found an activity we could all enjoy and not be so terribly hot doing!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

5 weeks already

The time sure is flying by. I can not believe that in a week they will be going to the locker. They didn't even have time to get stinky this time. What a difference having a nice place set up for them makes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My drop stitch scarf

I was recently on a the quest for a cute wrap to wear to church. Tho this pattern didn't end up being that for me as it is not as wide as I would have liked, the pattern is adorable and easily altered to make it wider, which I will do next time.
So this is what I found! Drop Stitch Scarf
or if you are not on Ravelry you can see it HERE

It knit up so nicely, so smoothly and so beautifully that my little girls are asking me to make them one for this winter as well.

I knit it up out of Sugar Bubbie's Promise Me Autumn colorway that was dyed up on Gaia Organic Merino worsted weight.

The latest creature

We are big about animals on our farm. If we see an animal that needs help we do our best to help them. If we find something new or different then we are sure to make the that the kids are involved as they love the animals as much as mom.
On Fathers Day we found a Salamander in a pot by the house. He wasn't looking so good tho and I kept it hidden from the kids til I knew how it would do. You see he was sunbathing in a black pot that had no water in it and he was working on baking himself in the pot. I actually was unsure if it was alive or not when I found it. But the movement told me we needed to see what we could do. I added some water and within a couple of hours the poor little thing was moving a bit better and by the next morning so much better.

The kids wanted to keep it but I didn't think that we could adequately feed him and keep him alive so we decided it was best to let him go. Now the choice location was the pond area and that is just were we let him go.
He was totally gone within a couple hours from when we released him which made the kids very sad but they know that is what is best for all of gods creatures is to be put in there environment to thrive and that is what we did!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Picking Peas at Grandma and PaPa's

Today we went to my parents house to see the new baby chickens and help pick peas. The kids had a great time helping and we were able to bring home quite a few wonderful fresh peas for us to enjoy. I love it when we get to start enjoying the fruits and veggies of the year!

Nevaeh loved carrying the peas for us and putting them in the basket. They all enjoyed picking the peas. They would ask first if it was big enough most of the time and did a great job.
And before we left grandma found a "butterfly" which was actually a moth but something the kids all loved just the same!