Monday, July 30, 2012

Fair Hair

Fair Hair, the big fund raiser for the 4-H Jr. Leaders, always creates quite the stir at the county fair.

Oh, it starts out innocently enough.  A little hair spray, two cute girls running their fingers through your hair, a simple red stripe......

and next thing you know, you have a flamboyant head of stripes and polka dots that takes several washing to get out.  The kids always list fair hair as one of the highlights of the fair - fun!  Fair hair for Dancer is even a bigger deal since she is one of the kids that styles and sprays hair and she loves doing it.

The first day she had her done in two big pony tails that were ratted beyond belief.  She was staying over night at the fair so before I went home I tried to help her get it washed out and brushed, it took well over an hour and I wasn't even able to do a very good job at getting it back to normal.  Next year on the list of things to bring to the fair will be conditioner and a comb.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fair Judging

Dancer with the aerospace judge.

He liked what she said!

Club planter

Spark's geospatial project.


Pretty proud of Spark with this cat education project, he earned a reserve champion and an honorable mention.  He came up with the idea, did all the research (how to make the toys and how much did the cats like to play with them), made all the cat toys and typed it all with no help except that Dancer suggested he wrap the box in wrapping paper and I think she may have helped him wrap it.  One the requirements of this project is that there is a picture of you and your pet, which of course you can't do yourself, so Dancer took the picture of him and Kacheekers.  I see my job as 4-H mom getting easier every year. 

All in all a successful day, the kids were happy with how they did.  Now Dancer just has to decide which project she will take to the state fair.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fancified Sugar Cookies

We spent the day preparing for the fair, both 4-H and open class.  Projects never seem like much work when you are signing up for them but when it comes to doing them it is another story.  I have gotten smarter though, making one batch of cookies and using the dough for a couple entries so we don't have so many batches of cookies left over. 

These are going under ice box cookies.  In part of the dough I added food coloring and left the other half plain.  Each dough was rolled out between wax paper in a rectangle.  After putting each rectangle in the freezer for a few minutes, I layered them together, rolled them up tight to make a log and then rolled the whole log in colored sugar.  They would be cute for all the different holidays, these for Valentine's, green for St. Pat's day, orange for Halloween, etc.

These pretzel cookies I am putting in under "any other."  Using the sugar cookie dough, roll about 10 inch ropes, roll in colored sugar and twist.  I had a really hard time getting these to work very well, it was so humid that my chilled dough started to sweat and became sticky as soon as I would try to work with it. I had the most trouble with the pink ones, I don't know if there was something different with that color sugar or what.   I got three that looked pretty decent.  Now we will see how they do!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lemon Bars

First thing zest 1 teaspoon lemon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

The recipe:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Filling -
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon peel

Combine the first three ingredients - the flour, butter and powdered sugar.  Pat into an ungreased 8x8 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Beat eggs.  Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and zest and beat until frothy.

Pour over the crust.  Bake 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.  You can dust with powdered sugar if you like.

Look how yellow these are and not a drop of yellow food coloring in them.  I don't think it hurts that our eggs have deep orange yolks.   Dancer love, love, loves lemon but it all has food coloring so these are perfect for her. I would venture to say that she will be making a lot of them in the future. 

And just to make our lemon bar blog post different from all the other lemon bar blog posts, we have added a picture of a mosquito in a box, courtesy of Spark.

Knitted Scrubby Dish Cloth

Finally this is finished.  For some reason this was an arduous task for me, taking several days for what could have been done in a few hours.  It is a knitted dish cloth with tulle to make it scratchy. 

First step is to make the toule yarn.  Take a yard or so of medium tulle and starting at one, corner cut a thin strip around and around and around and around and around.........  I used the medium tulle and it was a bit hard on the hands to work with but the fine wouldn't give any scrubbing power on pots and pans and the large would probably eat up your hands knitting with it.  The holes in it also gave knitting another dimention of challenges when stitching.  Anyway, there is no pattern for this.  I cast on 35 stitches with just the cotton yarn and then added in the tulle for the second row and continued with the knit stitch until it was a good dish cloth size. 

A close up shows the scrubbiness of it. 

Sweet n' Salty Snack Mix

Dancer is entering this in open class at the fair under snack mix.   She only needed one cup, what ever will we do with the rest of it?  Oh yeah, eat it for supper before church and the rest of it will keep in an air tight container for a week (unlikely it will still be around after a week!).

4 cups Bugles
4 cups wheat Chex
1 cup pretzels
1 cup pecan halves
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons light Karo syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large (11 oz.)  bag peanut butter M&Ms

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray or grease a large roasting pan.  Combine the snack ingredients, except the M&Ms, in the roasting pan.

Combine the brown sugar, butter, Karo syrup and salt in a heavy pan.  Cook until mixture come to a full boil.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla and baking powder.  Pour it over the snack mixture and stir to coat. 

Bake 10-15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.  If it looks like the coating is set and it is starting to get a little brown on the edges pull it out at 10 minutes.

Spread it on wax paper and let cool for 5 minutes.  Toss to break pieces apart and mix in M&Ms.  Keep tossing every now and then until cool to break the pieces apart.   

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cranberry Bark Candy

Melt a few blocks of almond bark and throw in some dried cranberries.  Spread on wax paper and let harden, which will take over night if it hot and humid out.  Melt some chocolate chips and spread thinly over top of bark. 

Cut it into squares.  Spark is entering this in the fair under bark candy but I think we will make a few batches for Christmas presents because this stuff is 1. easy peasy, 2. will be appreciate by those who have everything and don't need another Christmas gift they need to find a place for and 3.  super yummy!

Face Painted Rocks

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One Lovely Blog

Carolyn over at Krazo Acres bestowed upon us the One Lovely Blog Award.  Thank you so much we are honored that you like our blog.

After accepting the award we are suppose to pass it on to ten other blogs.  I tried to have a little variety in the ones I nominated so these blogs all have to do with one or more of the following: homeschooling, goats, chickens, gardens or I just find them a bright spot in my day when they have a new post. 

We are also suppose to tell seven things about ourselves others might not know.  I think we may have covered everything in the last four years of blogging but here a few random facts about us.

1.  Spark eats Raisin Bran every single day.  Sometimes more than once a day.

2.  Dancer loves to have fancy polish fingernails and looks up new ideas on Pinterest on how to decorate them.

3.  I always have my toenails polished thanks to Dancer.  Often in the summer when I wear flip flops people will comment on my toe color and when I explain that my pedicurist is 15 they smile and understand why I sport the colors I do.

4.  Dad spent many years as a skip tracer before he was a nurse.  He can find just about anybody anywhere in the world. 

5.  Nikki does not eat her food at her bowl.  She takes a piece, brings it in the living room, drops it on the rug, bites it into little pieces and leaves a mess.  Unless she doesn't like the color she got out of the bowl, then she just leaves it there for someone to step on a give a yelp.  Dog food has the same pain level as Legos.

6.  Most of the things we bake and show up on the blog we give to the grandparents.  I just brought three large bags of cookies to them today that we have from baking for the fair.  For each fair entry we only need three cookies, that leaves a lot of extra cookies we don't need to eat.

7.  Spark loves to watch himself dance on those security TVs they have when you walk into stores.

So grab the award, tell us seven things about yourself and pass it on.  Or if you don't put awards on your blog, just smile knowing that we love your blog, nothing bad with happen to you within three days, I promise.   

Monday, July 16, 2012

Love is........

when your husband buys you a turning knob for the lawn mower so that you can "steer with one hand and swat deer flys with the other."

A Nest Of Crickets

Crickets are stacking workshop stools.  They can be used as small workbenches, for standing and sitting on, or you could even eat your lunch on one, the sky is the limit.  The directions for these are at the bottom of this page. 

Dancer made these with the help of Dad and Grandpa Jerry for a 4-H wood project.  I love that now these stools have the memories of being trigenerational.

All stacked together.  She is going to paint them, now just to decide what color, she is leaning towards purple. 

Before the great cricket project, Dad cooked us burgers on the grill.  Spark, Grandma Pat and Mom are patiently waiting for the tasty delights.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pea Crop

This is the entire harvest excluding the four we ate in the garden.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hit The Dusty Trail

How to ride a horse:
Step One – Mount the horse.

Step Two – Stay mounted.…

Spark on Relay


Dancer on Dancer - you can figure out which Dancer is which.

Our lovely friends who taught us horse riding 101 and then patiently helped us ride all afternoon.

Still mounted so we are calling it a success.

First the dad took the kids out on a nice slow ride.  Their kids have been riding since they were tots so they are pros at all this.  We, on the other hand, were a little stiff in the saddle as it seems a lot higher up when you are on the horse than just looking at the horse.  There is a bit of adrenaline pumping while you hope the saddle is on tight.

The mom, who is one of dad's coworkers, took me on a ride and I rode Relay.  He supposedly doesn't even need a harness on because he is such a good follower and just plods along after the other horses.  The good follower part is a true statement, the plodding part is a lie.  I thought he was running but they tell me he was just galloping - a little.  I think I should have had the terms 'galloping' and 'a little' defined before I got on him. I came back in the yard right side up and safe and sound with a smile on my face so I still think he is great horse.

We got to give them a little brushing after their saddles were off.  As soon as they returned to their corral they lay down and lavishly rolled on their backs in the dirt.  A six horses on their backs with their legs sticking straight up is quite a sight to behold.

Dad leading a horse back to the corral.  I wanted him to stop for a better picture but the horses call to each other making this one in a hurry to get back to its cohorts.  Dad didn't ride because they also invited us to stay for diner on the grill, are these great friends or what.  Dad had grill envy and he spent the whole afternoon on the porch admiring their grill.  I have been hearing about the fabulous features this grill has since before Father's Day when their dad was gifted with it.   In fact, now that I think about it more, I bet he only wanted to go over the see the grill and used the horses as a way to get the rest of us to come with.  I should have gotten a picture of him with the grill instead of a horse.

The Perfect Way to Spend A Sunday Afternoon

Sitting at the lake with a fishing pole in hand.

A fish is a fish no matter how small.

For some of us this is about all that got on our lines.

Canoeing with farmish kind of friends.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Spinach, Basil, and Tomato Pizza

At Pizza Ranch one of our favorite pizzas is the Tuscan Roma.  Dad did his best to copy how it is made and I think his is even better than the Pizza Ranch version. 

As per Dad: A pizza crust made using the recipe you can find  here.  The pizza tastes best with a really thin crust so I rolled the crust out.  It is so thin I made 3 crusts from one batch of dough.  Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto the crust add 4 or 5 table spoons of Alfredo sauce.  Swirl it around with a spoon to cover the whole crust.  Sprinkle 3 cups of mozzarella cheese on top.

Thinly slice 2 tomatoes and lay them on the pizza with a couple handfuls of coarsely chopped spinach and about six leaves of basil.  Sprinkle a little cheese on top.

Bake in a 425 oven for about 15 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.