Tuesday, April 18, 2017

YouTube for cats

 We were checking out April the Giraffe on YouTube and that got us interested in other live cams.  These live cams are a little addictive and more entertaining than some t.v. shows.  We were watching a bird nest and the bird sounds brought Fluffles out from where ever he spends his days to see what was going on.

He got down way low like an outside cat would do when stalking a real bird and slowly crept up to the t.v.

He was so sneaky that he got this close and they still didn't see or hear him. A mighty hunter he is!  He finally gave up, I don't know if he figured out they weren't real or if they were like a chicken on the deck safe behind a pane of glass.  Probably the later.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tie Dye Easter Eggs - Pinterest Buster

Soak the hard boiled egg for a few minutes in vinegar to ready the shell to take up as much dye as possible. Wrap the egg in a paper towel securing it with a twist tie.

Put a few drops of food coloring randomly on the paper towel.

Spritz with a spray bottle set on mist to make the colors bleed.

Leaving the eggs in the paper towel, set them in front of a fan until the towel is dry.

Open them up and if they aren't completely dry leave them in front of the fan for a few more minutes.

These turned out stunning!
They have a sort of night time, celestial sky look to them.

Dying Easter Eggs with Cool Whip - Pinterest Buster

This was so simple I wish I had known about this when my kids were little.  

Put a container of Cool Whip in a cake pan.  Dot with several different colors of food coloring.  Swirl the color around with a tooth pick, not too much though or it turns laundry lint grey.  We wore gloves for easy clean up.

Roll the hard boiled eggs in the Cool Whip until they are completely covered.  Let sit for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, take the eggs out and gingerly rinse them in a bowl of water so as not to disturb the color.  Allow to dry and they are good to go.

Give the leftover Cool Whip to your chickens.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Bunny Origami - Pinterest Busters

A Tale of Two Bunnies

  The first one had over 20 steps to make this little bunny basket that will hold small trinkets.  Cute on the web site, but didn't work for us.  

Dancer would say this pin is busted.  Maybe if you are skilled in the art of origami, but for the beginner this is not a winner.

Second bunny had only nine folds and we successfully made a whole fluffle of bunnies.  The bunny stands up and you can brighten up your Easter table by using them as name place cards.  We have to say that this pin is winner, winner, bunny dinner.

Cinnamon Roll Easter Bunny - Pinterest Busters

Pinterest - the little corner of the world where everything is beautiful and perfect. One of the things our homeschool co-op likes to do is see if all that perfection is real or a ruse.  This week we tackled a few Easter pins. 

Since our co-op is three boys, we tend to navigate towards food pins and tried the cinnamon roll Easter bunnies.  The boys bravely opened the cans of premade cinnamon rolls.  Those things scare the crap out of me, but they didn't even flinch.

They spread out the rolls for the head and cut one roll apart to have dough for the ears.  The directions stated to leave a space in the middle of the ear to allow for the dough to grow.  Pop them in the oven following the baking directions on the can if you haven't already thrown the can away.

After frosting we added a couple chocolate chips for eyes and a nose.  They turned out pretty cute and delicious.

We would call this pin a success because, even if you make the ears to short, you have cinnamon roll bears.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Irish Colcannon with Kale

This is an Irish dish, but don't feel like you have to save it for St. Patrick's Day, enjoy it all year.

Make mashed potatoes as you normally would.  In a separate pan put 5 - 6 tablespoons butter, 3 cups chopped kale and 3 chopped green onions with the tops.  Cook about 5 minutes, you want the onions and kale soft but not mushy.  Mix potatoes and kale/onion mixture together.  Serve in bowl with a plop of butter in the middle of the potatoes (the best scoop comes from the middle of the bowl).

This can also be made with cabbage, Swiss chard or any other hardy green.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Greenhouses and Goats

Our 4H club enjoyed a behind the scenes peek at a greenhouse.  So much more goes on there than meets the eye.

Some of it is right before our eyes, but I just never noticed.  For example, each one of these hanging baskets has it's own drip irrigation.

Another thing I learned is that those first two tiny leaves on a sprout are called cotyledon. I feel so garden smart now. 

Seeing all these plants got me itching to get a couple seedlings started.

A small sample of bird feeders they had.  If there is something to stick out in your backyard, they had it there.  Everything was so, so cute, I didn't see one thing I wouldn't want.  The only thing that kept me from backing the car up to the front door and loading it up was that all that cuteness comes with quite a price tag. If we lived where it was nice out most of the year it might not seem like so much, but here in Minnesota, where our first and last frost dates only span about 4 1/2 to 5 months, it sure does.  

Next stop was the park for a meeting, Subway lunch and knocking a volleyball around.

We finished up the day with a visit to a goat dairy.  Nothing will make you say "ahhh" faster than 80 plus goats all together.  This pen held over 25 newborn kids. Made me think we needed more goats, but then I came to my senses.  Dancer's goat Jamal is from this dairy so I scoured the mommy goats to see if I could see the one that might be his mom. There were a couple that would fit the bill so there will be no definite  family reunion for him. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Grandma Shirley

Please don't sing sad songs for me,
Forget your grief and fears,
For I am in a perfect place
Away from pain and tears

It's far away from hunger
And hurt and want and pride,
I have a place in Heaven
With the Master at my side.

My life on earth was very good,
As earthly life can go,

But Paradise is so much more
Than anyone can know.

My heart is filled with happiness
And sweet rejoicing, too.
To walk with God is perfect peace,
A joy forever new.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Llama Clinic

Time for the llamas to have their annual check ups.  We are fortunate that a number of vet students from the U of M come out to a local farm and hold this clinic every spring.  It is very hard to find vet familiar with llamas so this is a huge blessing.  The girls got a good once over, their teeth checked, shots, dewormed and toe nails trimmed. 

Marceline in the chute getting her shots.

Honey Bear and Dancer.  Honey Bear was all done and very interested in sampling the hay. She has been eating hay out of the same field all year so perhaps this hay from another field was a real treat for her.

Birthday X 3

We have had three birthdays since our last post.  Spark was way back in October.  Lots of presents.

Lunch at one of his favorite places, KFC!

And of course, birthday cake with 16 candles.

Dancer was in January.  Twenty candles on her cake this year which means I only have one teenager.  

Presents, presents. presents. 

We ordered pizza for supper.  It wasn't going to work for us to go out on her birthday so a few days prior we celebrated at Pizza Ranch.

My birthday was in February. No candles because I had an ice cream cake and the number of candles for my age would probably melt the cake!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Celebrating National Days

There is a national day for just about everything under sun. They range from the common, such as, Grandparents Day, that even gets a mention on most calendars, to the uncommon celebration of the rather morbid National Life Insurance Day. Over the last couple of years we have added celebrating these days into our homeschool.  We mostly focus on the days that are food related or one that can be celebrated with food. The first reason for the food focus is our co-op is teenage boys, who are always looking for something to eat, and secondly, teenage boys are not interested in making a craft that goes along with a theme.  There might be one, or maybe even two out there, but I don't know them.

In the last few days we have celebrated National Milkshake Day, I recommend peanut butter

and National Cheeseburger Day.

There are lots of websites out there to tell you what day it is, here is one to get you started National Day Calendar. I can tell you, I have my eye on the up coming National Ice Cream Cone Day (19th) and National Corn Beef Hash Day (27th).  

The Running of The Llamas

The Running of the Llamas is a fun celebration that was held in Hammond, Wisconsin.  This was the 20th, and final year, of the event. During the event, which packs the town with people far and wide, heats of four llamas race down the street for about two blocks to the finish line.  Some llamas are great runners and others are not all that interested.  A llama that isn't interested in doing something just doesn't do it.  If you are holding on to a lead of such a llama, you may not even get over the starting line.  Spark brings Marceline because she makes it her goal to be the leader of whatever group of llamas she is in.  This means that she naturally wants to be in the front of the pack and that her personality makes her a strong competitor in a race.  The last two years Spark and  Marceline won their heats, but came in third over all.  Since this was the last year, Spark ran sprints in the backyard for a good portion of the summer to get ready for a win.

Before the race there is a parade with the llamas, local royalty, and others community groups.

This year Spark's training paid off, he and Marceline came in first place.

For her effort she was awarded with a large basket of vegetables.

The prize smelled so go we could hardly get her back to the trailer to go home.  Bet she wishes she had run faster those other years now that she has "tasted" success.

At home, Spark cut up all her winnings to share with the entire barnyard.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Wood Slice Wreath

We're on a roll here with these wood slice projects, this time a wreath. Again super simple and inexpensive.  

The wreath. For the base of the wreath have about 12-15 slices of wood roughly the same size.  My base slices were about 4 inches across so how many you need will depend on how large you want your wreath and how big they are.  Lay them out on the table in a circle arranged so that they have the most surface edge touching.  Hot glue the pieces where they touch and this is the base of the wreath.  By itself it will not be sturdy enough, this is where the smaller slices come in.  Lay them over the middle of two of the base layer slices and glue the heck out of them.  Do this all the way around and there is no way this wreath is coming apart.  Keep adding slices to add depth and dimension.  

The bow.  Making a perfect bow is difficult at best, especially if you are working with a stiff material like burlap.  For this reason I don't even try and no one will know the difference.  The bow on this wreath is made of four pieces.  Two for the loops and two for the streamers that hang down.  Hot glue is again your friend for making this look like it is the perfectly tied bow. The hot glue also insures that this bow isn't going anywhere.  Add an adornment and it's done.

The cost. Others of these I have seen made had a store bought base. I skipped that part for two reasons.  First, I would have to wait to make this until I had a chance to go into town and I'm not even sure where you buy such a thing so I would have to go looking around.  And second, it would add to an already heavy project.  Unless you know you are hanging this where there is a stud in your wall, over time it will make a large hole in dry wall.  Also it needs more than a picture frame nail to hang it up. The slices Dad cut for me from downed branches in the yard.  I have seen these slices in craft stores for an insane amount of money.  If you don't have a table saw to cut your own, do some networking in your neighborhood, someone must have some sort of saw that will cut these for you. Bring them some fresh baked cookies if they seem hesitant.  The pine cones I had in the craft closet that I picked one day when we were geocaching, so free.  The ribbon I got on clearance at Walmart.  It wasn't the right size so I had to cut it. Don't let the wrong size ribbon keep you from a good deal.  The ribbon was $1.50 and I used about a quarter of it making the final cost of the wreath 37 cents plus however much hot glue you use. 
We made a bunch of these for a church festival and added fake flowers and ribbon.  This made them a little more expensive, but not by much as we were able to use store coupons.  This one we added a couple painted wood pumpkins and a couple of spiders Dancer made.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Wood Slice Pumpkins


We were cleaning and burning up some brush the other day to get the yard ready for fall. When Dad was cutting the wood up I said to cut me some slices of a branch to make pumpkins.  Super simple, paint the slice orange leaving a little margin on the edge, then glue a stick and some Spanish moss on the top with hot glue.  Done! I used a semi gloss paint from Walmart that was about $1.50. I made seven and used about half the bottle of paint making them about 10 cents apiece.   The moss I had saved from some dried arrangement so no cost there.  If I hadn't had the moss I would have used dried grass or a bit of green fabric for an embellishment.      

When the pumpkins were all lined up it made me think of the book I read to the kids at least a hundred times when they are little to teach ordinal numbers, "Five Little Pumpkins Sitting On a Gate."  Click  here to hear the song if you aren't familiar with it or just want to walk down memory lane.