Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Prunella Pachyderm

Prunella, named after Prunella Scales on Fawlty Towers, one of our favorite shows.

The pattern came from this crochet book I recieved as a Christmas gift.  She looks pretty close to the one on the cover.  I used a much softer yarn than recommended which may have made her not quite as stiff, but who wants to cuddle a scratchy pachyderm? I also crochet in the back of the stitches, which I think makes for a nicer looking surface, but again, isn't as stiff as going through the whole stitch.  Prunella would never be able to stand on that ball. but for all I know the one on the cover is highly photoshopped and all this is a moot point.

The pattern was correct, it's so annoying to start a project and then the pattern isn't right.  They only thing I had trouble with was one leg and that was because I was talking when I should have been counting.  My favorite part is the little tuffy hair on top of her head.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Birthday Dancer!

Dancer turned 19! She chose, as she does every year, cheese cake as her cake.

Turned Christmas paper into birthday paper by circling the 19 on it. It totally worked, everyone was fooled.

The one gift she really, really wanted for Christmas as an Ivory ella t-shirt.  The one she wanted was out of stock so I didn't get any, Oops! She would have been happy with any of their t-shirts I found out after we opened Christmas gifts. A good thing about having your birthday not long after Christmas is that you can reask, clear up any misunderstandings about what you wanted, and get them for your birthday.

For her birthday meal she wanted to go out to eat at Fudrucker's in the Twin Cities. This restaurant  meant a three hour round trip drive, but that is where she wanted to eat and we all love their food so we happily took her.  We went there the weekend before her birthday because no one was really available to celebrate on her birthday.  We did slide in a quick diner at Pizza Ranch between activities on her actual day so she got birthday diner twice.  

Make a box cake taste like it came from a bakery.

I saw this on Facebook as I was zooming through posts of friends so I am not sure where the proper credit goes for this idea.  What I do know is that we will not be making box cake according to the directions given on the box anymore.  

The kids and I decided to to do a taste test.  We chose a plain, white cake mix for the simple reason that we had two of those on hand and we wanted to compare cake to cake not one flavor to another.  One was made business as usual and the other we used the steps from above.

The cake on the left is the bakery taste cake and on the right is the regular box cake.  As you can see, they aren't even the same color.  And the taste, well, there was more difference in the taste and texture than in the color.  In fact, the bakery taste cake was so good that after our taste test, we scraped the non-bakery cake out of the pan and took it out to the chickens.  They didn't get to taste the other one so they didn't know how bland it was. Sorry chickens!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year from Pinterest

Our New Years Eve was going to be low key, we watched New Year's Eve programing and did a jigsaw puzzle.  Even so, we needed to have a few fun things so I turned to Pinterest.

2015 in pizza.  This was Dad's homemade pizza therefore it was scrumptious.

Chocolate dipped ice cream bowls.  We had never had these before and they are quite good.  Real simple to jazz them up, dip them in melted chocolate (we used almond bark) and sprinkles.

Dancer went to a party, but was home by midnight (maybe we aren't as boring as we think).  The pin showed to have balloons with time on them counting down the entire evening, but since Dancer was only here at midnight we opted to only have one.

And Nikki.  She spent the night begging for pizza and lounging on us while we watched t.v.  A dog's life is the life to have.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fast Forward Six Months

 Realizing our blog is sorely lagging, because of Verizon crazy data usage, I am going to quickly get six months into one post.  Also I feel guilty because when Dancer was the age that Spark is now I was blogging daily.  Being a second child myself, who has almost no pictures of my childhood, I feel we should have at the least bi-annual posts.  So here we go:

We took llamas to the county fair.  This is Dancer and Honey Bear in the costume class.  Honey Bear is a bath tub, complete with a scrubby, shower cap, hair curlers and a towel.  They won a champion ribbon.

Spark showed a goat, Kyumba.  They were in the blue ribbon auction and he was rewarded with $250 for his ribbon. Kyumba is now living in the barn learning to stand up to the older goats who remind him of his place in the pecking order every chance they get.

Dancer took Honey Bear to the state fair. They won a first place ribbon and a spot in the top ten line up. Our county also won 3rd place in herdsmanship, a huge honor.

Dancer had her first ever day of "school." She quickly realized that she is not a classroom student and looked forward to getting back to her online classes. 

She earned her first paycheck as a CNA at a nursing home. She likes her job, especially on pay day!

I sewed her quite a few scrub tops so she could be festive.

We did some fishing.

We added a male llama, Sirocco, to our herd.  He is a year and a half and this was the first time he had a halter on so we will see if he works out for a 4-H llama.  Our other hope was that he would get friendly with our girls, but so far they have been acting like ice princesses.

Spark started selling eggs and has a hard time keeping up with orders.  To help ease the back log of orders he was given some chicks and they should be laying by March.

For the first time in our homeschooling adventure we manage to get the butterfly to emerge from the chrysalis. It only took us until our 14th year.

Spark celebrated his 15th birthday.

Work schedules dictated that we celebrate Thanksgiving a couple days late. We made so much food, not sure who we thought was going to eat it all since there were only four of us.  Leftovers were on the menu for several days. Same thing happened with Christmas.

Took our annual co-op Christmas trip to the Mall of America.

Spark joined a speech club and is giving two speeches.  One is O. Henry's After Twenty Years and an informative one about llamas in 4-H. 

Our dear Skips took ill with something our vet couldn't figure out and he died in Dancer's arms this fall. It still hasn't fully sunk in yet and I often expect to see him around the house.

We have spent a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa.  The circumstances may not be the best but we have seen them more in the last year than we probably did in the last twenty years. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Grilled Cheese in the Oven - Pinterest Busters

Our Helmets Required co-op got together for another round of Pinterest Busters, this time trying out if you can make a good grilled cheese in the oven.

After readying the sandwiches as you would to make them in a pan, we put them on cookie sheets.  We tried regular metal sheets and the Pampered Chef stones.  Put the sandwiches on one sheet and cover them with another.  The oven was preheated to 350 degrees and we popped them in.

About 20 minutes later, about the time I could have made at least 20 sandwiches on the stove, we had six flat, pale, dry sandwiches.  We put them back in for about another 5-10 minutes and they did brown up a bit, but again they were dry.  They did work better on the metal sheets than the stones.

Dancer cranked the oven up to 400 degrees and that sandwich did turn out looking more like a proper grilled cheese sandwich.  We could probably play around with the temperature and the type of cookie sheet we used to make them better.  However, our recommendation is, if you have a frying pan and a burner, make them on the stove not in it.  We would call this pin semi-busted, yes we made grilled cheese, but it was substandard.

The boys also made TF2 (Team Fortress 2) steam game sandviches.  Sandvich, it's suppose to sound Russian.  What they wanted to know is if the sandvich tasted good.  Surprise!  It did!  I think that was a creative way on their part to ensure lunch during co-op ;) 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Homeschool class of 2015.  

I liked this photo.  I thought it would be great irony to have their program picture taken "outside" of a school.  It shows that you can graduate without ever stepping a foot in a traditional classroom.  

Dancer before the ceremony.

Twelve leaves on the rose to represent each of the graduates.  They had a dinosaur that held a rose and he would invite them to all the meetings.  This rose symbolizes they are all part of one.  Took a while to explain that to the lady that made the cake, she was going for aesthetics, but once we explained she did a great job with it.  I was in charge of ordering the cake so it is food coloring free, except for the rose, so that Dancer could have a piece. 

Each graduate set up a table to show a bit about who they are.  Dancer choose, of course, her tap shoes, 4-H ribbons and name tags, games we like to play, a Dr. Who mug, crochet dragons, Phantom of the Opera book, some pictures, and her beloved gel highlighters, which without she probably couldn't study and would have been a D- student (not really!)

The ceremony had a commencement speaker, a slide show of each of the graduates of pictures of them through the years, 

the parents presented their diploma,

and then they walked off as adults ready to enter the world!  Now Dancer is trying to get use to saying, "I was homeschooled" compared to "I'm homeschooled."

When we gave them their diploma, they gave us a rose.  Love the color of the one Dancer chose for us.

After the ceremony we went to Pizza Ranch to celebrate, seems we do a lot of celebrating there.  This was the sky, it rained most of the day, buy by this time the sun was starting to peek out.  Hope this is a symbol of how their future will be, sunshine after storms.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Potato Chip Cookies

Yep, you read that right, potato chip cookies.  Who would ever think of that I don't know, but Dad thought they sounded good so he baked up a batch.  They are actually called "My Secret" cookies.  The cookbook credited Bernice Fonos of Minneapolis with the recipe and she said, "I have made these cookies many times and always ask my friends to guess the "Secret Ingredient."  No one has ever guessed potato chips!"  Well, her secret is sort of safe with me, but they are so good I wanted to share the recipe. ;)

3/4 c. butter (it calls for margarine but no really good cookie was ever made with margarine)
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. nuts
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. crushed potato chips.

Cream butter and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients, blending well.  Shape into balls the size of a walnut.  Flatten with a fork in two directions.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Quarry Walk

We live near the "Granite City," named so because granite was, and still is, a huge industry in the area.  This quarry was started in 1863 by two Scotsmen and closed in 1950.  The park opened to the public in 1993.  I will use the term "to the public" loosely because it is a popular swimming hole and my dad has pictures of him, and many others, swimming and picnicking her in the 1940's.

Besides being able to "legally" swim in the 116 feet deep quarries, there are several miles of groomed walking and skiing trails.  It was beautiful to wander through the trails and pick up a few geocaches while we are at it.   

On this trip we were with our homeschool co-op Helmet Required friends.  

At this quarry, one of 20,  these two geese were almost across to the other side.  We took our cameras and started taking their picture (the beauty of the place is not captured on these photos).  As we were snapping away, they can swimming over to us and we swear, started posing.  As soon as we put our cameras away, they swam off.   Hmmm, a little wild life vanity?  

Monday, May 25, 2015


Spark got a new little goat for a 4-H project.  He named him Kayumba and rode on Dancer's lap on the way home. We bought him and then had a 4-H meeting where he was a huge hit, but how can you not love a baby goat. 

He is about 10 days old here.

It took him a couple of days for him to get used to taking a bottle after being use to his momma.

This kids worked with him a lot to get him to be a successful bottle drinker, even bringing him in the house for snacks at night.

Finally he is a pro at it and can down a bottle in what seems like seconds.  

He has really grown.  This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago, I'm not sure Spark would even be able to pick him up any more.  Next to our other goats though he is still a little guy.

And he loves to do chores.  He follows Spark around like a dog and panics when he doesn't see him.  Like all baby goats, he is so cute!