Sunday, August 25, 2013

Frosty Peppers

The garden starting to produce fast and furious so it is time to start freezing some of it. These are peppers, cut up, laid on a baking sheet and frozen.  Then we put them in freezer bags and during the winter pull them out for soups etc.

Church Picnic

First time Spark ever held a baby :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Milestone Birthday

We had beach day planned for our homeschool co-op and it just happened to fall on the same day as one of the mom's milestone birthday.  We couldn't let the chance go by to do something fun so we planned surprised birthday party for her.  She got a decorated chair and we showered her with gifts.
There was lots and lots of food but then we always have lots and lots of food when we get together!
We looked behind us and there was this man lounging in a tree.  Him in the tree reminded me of the movie Benny and Joon.  I wanted to yell over to him when he got down that he was out of his tree but, I missed his exit.  And yes, he really is wearing a red and white polka doted tank top.  I think instead of the boyfriend shirt it is the girlfriend cammy. 
All the kids from youngest to oldest.
We had planned to play lots of old fashioned birthday party games but, the kids only got out of the water to eat and then they were right back in.  We played this one right before we left.  The kids were split up into two groups and they each got a pair of chore gloves.  They had to put the chore gloves on, run down to the suitcases, pick out a piece of clothing to put on, put it on while wearing the gloves and run back.  They found this one so fun they played it twice.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cheesy Zucchini Rounds

Another way we have been attempting to use up some of our, what seems like hundreds, zucchini are these simple, cheesy delights.  Just take a zucchini and slice it in about quarter inch pieces.  Season with salt, pepper, etc. and sprinkle with cheese.  Put them under the broiler for about five minutes and they come out perfectly cooked.  Broil them on Lo for the cheese to be a little brown or on Hi for dark brown cheese.  These are so easy the kids have been whipping them up for quick lunches.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sweet Onion Mini Muffins

Spark spied this recipe in the cookbook next to the zucchini oat muffins and we are sure glad he did.  Since his first batch, we have requested he make several more.  Dad says these taste like a muffin you would be served in a fancy restaurant.

Sweet Onion Mini Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup finely - emphasis on the finely - chopped onion
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts - Spark used peanuts in one batch and that was good too

Combine dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients and stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in walnuts. 

Bake in mini muffin maker or muffin cups at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.   Batter may be baked in 1 dozen regular sized muffins cups for 20-25 minutes.

By Mildred Spinn from the Taste Of Home Baking Book

Friday, August 16, 2013

Zucchini Oat Muffins

This what happens when you are gone most of the time for two weeks and don't have a chance to check your zucchini patch - two wagons full of zucchini, most the size of caveman clubs. 

Most of these will be fed to the animals but, we are attempting to use at least a few of them.  The ironic thing about all these zucchini is that last year we couldn't get any to grow and I was begging them off of other gardeners.

Several batches of these muffins have been made in our kitchen and it seems they are gone before they are cool.  The kids have been baking them in the mini muffin maker which makes them even easier to pop in your mouth.  At our house I guess these could be called the vanishing zucchini oat muffins!

Zucchini Oat Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (don't skip these it is what makes them so good!)
1/2 cup oatmeal
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1 medium zucchini shredded - about 3/4 cup - this is not a hard and fast measure
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix all wet ingredients together.  Add in dry ingredients.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Recipe by Janet Bonarski in the Taste of Home Baking Book

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Llama Costume Parade

Dancer was Alice In Wonderland and Nora was the queen of hearts.
Spark was a minister and Marceline was a blushing bride.
A side view to show off her beautiful gown.

The Llama Show Must Go On

We had three days after our county fair to mow the lawn, wash the clothes and a few other tasks before heading out to the next fair.  Llamas are new to our county this year, only four kids, so we joined another county fair for our judging. 
Showmanship - keep smiling even if it feels your cheeks are going to crack.
Obstacles - fun for the audience - stressful for the kids.  
The kids in our county, even though we were at another fair our kids were judged by themselves - Dancer and Nora won a state fair trip!
Since we had to be there for four days, and the llamas could use some more time in the ring, we also competed in open class.  If you are only in the open class you only had to come one day, there were llamas coming out of the woodwork, I had no idea there were so many llama owners.  It did make for a very long show on metal bleachers - over five hours.  Here Dad is giving Spark some last minute advice. It must have worked, Spark and Marceline took fourth place and Dancer and Nora snagged third in their classes!
Those darn obstacles again. 
Although she has the look of, "there is no way I am going through there," she did.
 The final obstacle of tying the quick release knot and putting a towel on the back of your llama.  Whew!  We got the first shows done and now it is lots of intense training for Nora before the state fair and studying up on llama knowledge.   We also have a lot of sleep to catch up on!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And Now, For The Rest Of The Fair

To the back of our camper is the horse arena and we have a wonderful view of all that goes on there, either from the camper or we set chairs in the back of the truck and enjoy a few of the shows.  Our favorite is the parade of draft horses and other large animals pulling wagons.  These two ox weight 2700 pounds apiece, that certainly qualifies as a large animal!  It was almost unreal how large they were.  They were in a pen but only because they chose to be there, all they would have had to have done was lean against it and I am sure it would have gone down. 
Oh, the rocket launch.  Spark had his rocket out there three times before it did anything and then when it did it flew up in the air about three feet and came back down.
Here he is laughing at how bad it did.  What we think happened was that we had bad glue and when the engine went off it went up in the rocket instead of staying in place and the rocket taking off.   His rocket also had some serious heat damage so it isn't even fixable.  Well, if nothing else he learned not to use that glue any more.

Fair hair.  This is Dancer's favorite part of the fair and she was bummed they only did it one day this year.  All the kids couldn't get their schedules to work out to do it more than once.
Lunch time.  What we save in food costs more than pays for the camping spot, fair food is expensive, especially if you are eating for six days.
Hanging out with friends on farm equipment. 
Spark and the llamas waiting in the show arena.  They were part of the showmanship program so other kids could get a chance at working with them a little bit and hopefully we will gain more interest in our county.

Share the Fun.  This is the first year Spark was old enough to be in the show and he jumped right in by being the announcer.  People were amazed at how well he did but, Dancer is our shy one, not Spark by any means.  I guess when you are the second kid you have some stereotypes to break down to show that you aren't the same as your older sibling.

Dancer is more than happy to be in the background.  Although through different 4-H things she has come a long way in being able to come forward and break out of her shell.

The four kids from our club that were in the show.
We also had a llama meet and greet.  Even Grandma Pat came to spend some up close time with them.

This was senior citizens day where the kids hand out lemonade and cookies.  Spark also helped with day care day and gave barn tours.

Now it is time to reflect and start planning for next year!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Goats At The Fair

Arriving at the fair.
Their stall decorations were Duck Dynasty themed.

Bath before the show.

We made a big, big mistake with Jamal.  The goats weren't really drinking the city water and we were a little worried about dehydration.  The morning of the show we brought a bottle with some sugar in the bottom to mask the taste of the water.  Solomon has never had a bottle and didn't know how to drink from it.  Jamal knows very well what a bottle is and he sucked the bottle down.  When it was time to get them washed for the show the sugar was through his system and he had he worst poops.  Dancer washed him but it just kept coming, so after his bath she had to wipe him off with baby wipes so he was clean.  Thankfully he didn't go during the judging because they check their tail area and I had visions of him going right as she lifted his tail.

Jamal came in 4th in his group.

Solomon came in sixth out of eight goats in his group.  We were pretty proud of that though.  Market goats have to be 40 pounds to qualify for the show and he squeaked in at 41 pounds.  Even though he was tiny compare to others his rate of gain was higher.  Here he is in showmanship and you can see how little he is next to these big girls.  In showmanship Spark came in fifth out of 16, Dancer came in 3rd in her group.  Good job for their first year showing! 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Project Entry Day At The Fair

The kids did a lot of waiting in line.  Sometimes over an hour in just one line. 
Dancer explaining her Exploring Animals poster.
Spark talking about his tornado safety poster.  Between the two of them they won five state fair trips.  Spark is taking a display about the energy his potato cannon uses when fired and his potato cannon.  Dancer is taking a food and nutrition project on superfoods.

The parent waiting area.  Now that the kids are older we just wait with their projects that they haven't judged yet, we use to have to put the tags on them, show them where to go and wait with them in line, now they do it all themselves.
A couple of the guys in our club made a bench for the 4-H building and this is all our members and our two leaders sitting/laying around it.