Saturday, January 31, 2009

Basketball head

Dancer had a basketball tournament today - 2 wins 1 loss. This picture we got of her makes her look like she has a basketball for a head! Every other picture we took she had her back turned. We could really use a faster camera.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The best raspberry oatmeal bars

Dad took these to work last night for a snack and the other nurses were mad he didn't bring the whole pan. They all said they were very, very good. We loved them so much we made another pan tonight.

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

1/2 C. brown sugar
1 C. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 C. oatmeal
1/2 C. butter
3/4 C. raspberry jam

Combine dry ingredients. Blend softened butter in with a pasty blender or hands. Press 2 cups of the mixture in a 8X8 pan. Spread jam over crust within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the rest of the mixture over jam and press into jam. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

These are good cold but serve them warm with ice cream and they are to die for!

Desdemona's other mom

After spending a couple of days in the house our new little goat Desdemona has really taken a liking to Dancer. She follows Dancer around and if Dancer sits on the floor Desdemona climbs on her. She has also gotten very comfortable with being held. We are having warmer temps and she has gained two pounds so she is spending the night in the barn with her mom.

She just snuggles right in and makes little signing noises when she is being held. By next week at this time she will probably be to big to pick up.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Potato love

Dancer pulled this heart shaped tuber out of the potato bag tonight when she was peeling potatoes for supper. I always seem to be in such a hurry when getting diner ready I think I would have missed it. This is a Yukon Gold, our favorite variety of potatoes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Our first goat kid of the year - Desdemona. She was born sometime early afternoon. Spark went out about 12:30 to check the mom and she was all alone. At 2:20 when he checked again this little one was in the pen with her. Sad that we missed the birth, but happy she is here with no problems. When we first saw her she was standing but still wet. She is still quite wet in this picture. To dry her quickly we blow dryed her hair. The temps here are suppose to be -16 tonight so she will spend the next few days living in the house. Every few hours we take her out to the barn to nurse from the mom Millie. She settled right in and watched some t.v. with Spark while warming up in front of the space heater.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Right brain party

Scribble art pictures Spark made today. He drew a huge continuous line scribble and let his right brain take over and see pictures in the scribbles.

Going to the chapel and he's gonna get married

Spark, for an eight year old, spends a lot of time thinking about getting married. He already has his wedding all planned out. He and his bride will get married under our apple trees while standing on a log. The apple trees sound romantic but not sure what the log is for. He also wants lots of children, but only girls.

Tonight he and I were driving in the car alone to pick up Dancer from an activity. Out of the blue he says to me, "what do you think I will do for a job when I grow up?" Now, this is a boy who puts way more effort into avoiding doing chores than it would take to do them, and he is thinking of full time work. I guess that is encouraging. He comes up with things like, make t-shirts (he doesn't even like to wear clothes), work for Webkinz, write a comic strip ("if they are still in style then"), be a math teacher or grow and sell potatoes. I said to him maybe he could stay home with his kids and his wife could go to work everyday. Oh no, he says quickly, he would never expect her to work. Besides his kids need to be homeschooled because he doesn't ever want them to have to go to school. And as an after thought he threw in, "and we will have a lot of video games". It made me happy to hear that he appreciates the way we live and that he wants to duplicate it in a family of his own.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lights out

This afternoon, right after pulling dinner out of the oven, the lights flickered a couple of times and then went out. Put in calls to all the power company phone numbers and they were always busy. Called a friend in a town 15 miles away that has the same company and they didn't have power either. While eating our toasty warm supper in the dark, we realized that we are not very prepared for a loss of power and had no idea how long it would be out. There were no batteries in the radio or flash lights. With no power we have no pump for water. Once we run the water out of the lines that is all there is, which usually amounts to a toilet flush and one bucket. That means no water for our animals and in the winter we have to thaw the water that they did have to put new water in. Nothing to thaw the water with. Dancer was sick today with a stomach bug and kept throwing up - really want to be able to flush the toilets in that scenario (thankfully she was okay during the outage). We heat with fuel oil but to get the fan on the furnace to run we need electricity. We keep our house at a frugal 64 degrees and with the temps outside below zero it doesn't take long to cool down. Only one of our cell phones was charged, we meant to plug the other one in but never got around to it earlier in the day. Dinner had just been made, and we left the oven door open to take advantage of that heat, otherwise we have no way to cook in the winter with out electricity. We can grill, which we do in the winter, but not in the dark and with these temps. It also would have been mighty cold to go out and start a bonfire. It would have been jelly bread all around!

Two things we did have was the one cell phone and the computer. The computer would have only lasted for a couple of hours but it sure seemed like we weren't so cut off. Our house is also full of candles, I love to have one burning and therefore always get a ton of them for gifts. In fact, I had one already lit when the lights went out. How handy was that?!

The happy ending is that the lights came back on about an hour after they went out. Otherwise, we would have traveled to Grandma and Grandpa's house to darken their doorstep for the night. They only live about an hour away from us. We have learned our lesson and will getting somethings together to be more prepared should we find ourselves unexpectedly in the dark again.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Knitted neck cozy

The cold weather is back with a vengeance, it was -11 this morning when we left for a basketball tournament. To combat these frigid temps I knit Dancer this simple neck cozy. I saw a picture of a fancy one of these in a magazine and thought I can do that only with an easier pattern. To make this cast on 72 stitches. Knit the first row. All other rows, knit 2 purl 2 to make ribbing. Just keep going until it is the desired length. This one was knit on straight needles and sewed together. It would be even easier knit in a round. This is so versatile.
As a neck cozy just fold down like a turtle neck.

Pull it up for a head band

As face mask and it still covers the neck

The perfect hat for a girl with a ponytail.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hey, Let's Go Bowling

We spent a fun day with homeschool friends bowling and lunching. For the second game the lights were turned off and everything glowed (including all our white socks). There was also music like the hokey pokey, the chicken dance and other oldies but goodies. The kids may have danced more that game than they bowled. Things have really changed in bowling since the days of keeping score with a paper and pencil. The score boards even tell you how fast the ball went down the alley. Amazing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Sunday afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte

I love, love, love, love, love this picture by George Seurat. This is me with my tied blanket of the picture. I was so happy when we found this at the fabric store. I sleep under it every night and the people have to have their feet up towards my head so they are facing me or I can't go to sleep. Last year for Christmas I got a coloring book that had the beloved George Seurat picture in it. I colored it and then put it in my portfolio of this years school work. And when I am done with this year, I am going to take the picture out of it and put it another book. This year for Christmas I got a jigsaw puzzle of the picture. It was a 1000 pieces and really hard because the puzzle looks just like the painting, made up of different colored dots. Much of the grass and the trees looked exactly alike.

I also love the play "Sunday in the park with George" starring Bernadette Peters (she is awesome in the play "Into the Woods" as well). I am always looking for more items with this picture on it.

Some interesting facts about the painting:
  • Measures 6 feet 10 inches by 10 feet 1 inch
  • It took Seurat two years to paint it
  • The painting technique is called pointillism
  • Today this site is a public garden and housing development
  • The painting is displayed with a pure white, wooden frame to make the painting more vivid.
  • The painting is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

All the little birds on 370th street

love to hear the robin go tweet, tweet, tweet.
It's winter here, little bird
Come in April, when it's spring
Oh rockin' robin well you really gonna freeze tonight

I almost couldn't believe my eyes today when I saw a robin. As we drove further up the road there was a whole flock of them! We usually don't see robins until most of our snow is gone which is normally the end of March or the beginning of April. We have had a couple of weeks of below normal temps for us, wind chills have reached the -50 degree mark, so we don't know what they are doing here. The only thing we could think of was that someone has a really rockin' bird feeder. We are in the middle of farm country where they could be living in a corn crib but that just seems odd. For what ever reason, they are here we can put in the record books that we saw robins on the 21st of January.

Today we had wonderful temps, almost 30, and in the sun it felt like spring. We took advantage of the beautiful weather to be outside and releave some cabin fever. First thing was to get the deck shoveled off so it is easier to take the dog out. There was about two feet of snow on it with a thick layer of ice underneath the snow. Tomorrow is suppose to be even nicer than today so hope the ice is gone as well or at least melt enough that we can scrape it off. I know we will get lots more snow but at least we will start with a clean slate on the deck. Spark took a little break and perched on the corral gate to soaked up some sun. The ducks were excited about the water that was dripping off the barn. You can't see the drips very well in this picture but as they fell they would catch them in their beaks and stand under the eaves like it was a mini shower. This is Wooton one of our roosters. He doesn't really like to be inside unless the weather is really bad or cold. He does spend a lot of his time looking in this window at all the animals inside the barn and it is where he sleeps at night. We have another rooster who doesn't like to be outside and they are not best of friends. It may be a domain/territorial issue between the two of them and Wooton hates it outside but other one is at the top of the pecking order. Who knows with chickens! It seemed such a treat to do chores and unload feed in the warm weather today. It is actually very enjoyable to be out there on nice days. The snow was soft enough though that the truck got stuck, the snow was up to it's axel, and so we had to shovel and push to get it back out of the yard. Even with the nice weather it is obvious all over the yard that it is still winter. It is days like this though that get us through to spring.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ice Man

Take a block of ice....
Chisel a face and hair into it......

Pour hot water on top of a block and stack another block on top of the first block so it can freeze on. Pack the edges with snow and pour on more water slowly so that it just runs down the sides and mixes with the snow to make a strong bond with the blocks of ice.

Ice man.
He has a face, it just isn't showing up well on the picture. Wondering how long he will last into the spring.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Exploring blindness

After reading a couple of book about blindness Spark tried his hand at writing in Braille. The top line says "Spark" and the bottom line is "Dancer".

The kids tried an every day activity without being able to see. We choose brushing their teeth.

Spark had an easy time finding his tooth brush. He some how chews the end so it looks like Q-tip. Yes, I could get him a new one but it takes him less than a week to get it back to the Q-tip stage and he always has good check ups. He also found the tooth paste with out a lot of difficulty. Dancer had a harder time finding the paste and finally gave way to taking half the things in the draw out to find it.

Feeling for the faucet.

Got a lot of tooth paste on there, probably about a teaspoon. Dancer didn't hardly get any on hers.
With all the tooth paste, he had it dripping down the handle of his tooth brush and even on the blindfold. Also a huge mouthful that he just had to spit out because it was too much to manage.

Feeling to make sure that the brush is rinsed. Dancer was able to listen to hear if her brush was under the water by moving it back and forth under the stream of water. We thought she should try flossing because with her braces she has to thread the floss in between each brace but she wasn't game for that.
We also looked at a fun web site This site has a place where you can put in any name or word and it will spell it out in Braille. It also has some games, a bio about Louis Braille, and the kids Hellen Keller Kids Museum online.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

180 degrees

Today couldn't have been more different that yesterday. Instead of being gone all day and running round, we stayed home the entire day. I only went out to do chores in the barn. The kids watched a marathon of the Timewarp Trio. Dancer made more shrink art jewelry and made jewelry with all the pieces she made on Friday. Spark played some Wii and was in his room cleaning (he looses his DS if his room isn't cleaned, and since he can only play it after 5 p.m. or if we go somewhere, it is important to have that room clean). I managed a couple hour nap - yeah! Tonight Big Love was back on after not being produced last year so watched that. We finished watching Biggest Loser because I was too tired to stay up and watch it last night. I guess you could say we were just slugs. Even the weather has done a 180. We went from lower than -30 to 20 degrees today. 50 degrees make a huge difference. It is actually enjoyable to go out and take care of all the animals and they seem so much more active and content. Tomorrow I know is a holiday and school kids don't have school but my kids don't know that so we will have business as usual here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bird Dance

We ran around today like chickens with our heads cut off. This morning started early with a basketball game at a school that is 40 minutes to our west. The driving there was fine but by the time we started home, which was only 10:45, all that had changed. There were cars in the ditches on both sides of the freeway. We get home, grab a quick lunch, get Dancer all dolled up for a dance show. The dance show is 40 minutes to the east and by now the roads are horrible. We drove 35 mph on the way to the show. There was a 2 o'clock and a 6 o'clock show. We were very fortunate that Grandma was staying in a hotel there and we were able to relax in her room between the shows. One of the dances they performed was one where they are birds. It is really quite a cool dance. Here are pictures of the costumes. This is Dancer and one of her friends from class.
Spark and Grandma in the stands during the intermission

Spark was a wonderful brother and bought his sister a rose. He even wrote her a card.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Shrinky Dinks

Dancer got the Shrink Art Jewelry book by Klutz for her birthday. She just loves this book. She kept thanking us for buying her such a cool gift and saying how happy she was to have it. That doesn't happen too often. Most of the afternoon was spent in a flurry of tracing, coloring, cutting and then watching the little pieces shrink up in the oven. I had played with Shrinky Dinks as a kid and had forgotten how fun they are! Tonight her basketball team played during the varsity game half time at the high school and so she didn't have time to make these into earrings, necklaces etc. It almost killed her to go to bed knowing that this was all sitting waiting for her on the dining room table.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter Fireworks

Even in these way subzero temps we find ways to entertain ourselves. When the temps are way below zero if you take a cup of boiling water and throw it up in the air it freezes instantly making this huge cloud with ice droplets that zing to the ground. It makes a sound like fireworks going up in the air right before they burst open.

Swedish Dad Makes Italian Pizza Crust

Our dad loves, loves, loves pizza. He has taken on the project of making perfect pizzaria pizza crust at home and makes pizza a couple of times a week lately. Are we lucky kids or what?!! We don't think we will tell him when he gets it right. Tonights pizza was really good but if he wants to try making it even better who are we to stand in his way.

What goes
must come down

Puppy, it's cold outside

-27 degrees today. What is a dog to do? Nikki, lay over one of the heating vents with her nose stuck on it trying to glean as much heat from it as possible. She lay like that for a long time with her ears flapping in the warm air that was blowing up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl

It was a great day!