Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spring is Just Around the Corner!

      I keep hoping if I say this enough, it will happen! Almost every other day, we have had threat of snow! We actually have gotten a few flakes, but what happens here mostly is ice. Thankfully, that melted quickly! Today was predicted that we would have inclement weather in the form of snow/ice, but alas, only a very light layer on the picnic table and car hoods. It has melted as I write this. We are expecting round 2 for tomorrow. They cry wolf so often that people get tired of it and go on about their way. That's why accidents happen. People don't believe there's any ice until they wind up in a ditch! I prefer to stay in if temps are under 32 degrees and rain/snow. 

      But Spring is around the corner! I saw Robins in town the other day! I haven't seen them in my yard yet, but they are probably out there somewhere! My hens haven't started laying yet, but I'm hoping that won't be long! Before I know it, I'll have eggs running out my ears! Jill Winger from Prairie Homestead helped me with my frustration of not having eggs. She said that she embraces egg laying as a season. Just like harvesting corn or beans. One doesn't expect to get those all year long; and one shouldn't expect to get eggs all year long. At least not from older hens. I quit stressing about eggs after I read this. I will embrace eggs when they come! We will eat lots of custards, puddings, pies, and anything else made with eggs!

      I intended on writing a post last week, but when it rains, the internet doesn't work. Or it is very slow. That messes with blogger. So today, even though there is a light rain, I'm writing before it gets messed up. Plus, I had a bad head cold and felt terrible a few days. I'm so much better now! I got behind with my crafting and cleaning but we've been eating good! I broke down and bought beef this week in the form of a shoulder roast. I cooked it in the pressure cooker, then added carrots, potatoes, and onions and pressured a few more minutes. It turned out delicious! I love using my pressure cooker even more than my crock-pot! I rarely use my crock-pot. The pressure cooker is so much faster! And the food tastes good cooked in it! My grandmother always used her pressure cooker, so I guess that's why I'm not afraid of it. Speaking of pressure cooker, I'm about to can some beans! We are out of black beans, Skylar's favorite, so I ordered those and great northern. I get them from the food co-op. They are organic and I can purchase them in bulk. Makes them cost about the same as the grocery store. If your'e not familiar with canning beans, go to http://www.pickyourown.org/canningdriedbeans.htm or http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/04/how-to-can-dry-beans.html They will teach you what you need to know about canning dry beans. That's how I learned; so if I can do it, you can do it! Home canned beans are so much better than store bought. They keep well and all you have to do is reach into your pantry.

      I finally made lotion bars. They are wonderful! They are made with organic ingredients and smell so good! I don't use them to cover my whole body, just dry, chapped parts. Like hands, fingers, lips, toes, feet, elbows. You get the idea. They really helped heal Randy's cracked thumbs. He didn't even need any today. I rubbed it on his dry, cracked feet and they are so much better! I like making something at home that helps our bodies! It's not hard to do. Here's the link: http://www.mommypotamus.com/lotion-bar-recipe/
I also made melt and pour soap that I've been wanting to make for a long time. It was so easy! I had some that I purchased from Hobby Lobby a long time ago and I added some color and fragrance oil to it. It turned out pretty good. I'm going to try making it again as I sets up really fast.

      Have you planted your tomato, pepper, herb, and eggplant seeds yet? If you live in my zone, now's the time. I should have planted them a few weeks ago, but they are planted now. I just hope they germinate and grow. The seed starting mix has a funny odor. I hope it doesn't affect the seeds! If I don't see signs of growth within a week, I'll start over. I hope ya'll stay warm and safe during this unpredictable winter! Remember, Spring is just around the corner! Blessings from Bama!

The roast cooked into a stew!

We didn't get to spend much time with these two this weekend.

I don't mind the drive to get this flour!

Melt and pour soap. I didn't have red color.

Yummy lotion bars!
Randy worked in the rain to put up the last truss for the carport. It's tall so the camper can go under it.
Five pounds each! Waiting to be canned.
I love when the dough is bubbly!
The pizza was the best yet!
Can you believe he washed it in the rain?
Waiting for them to germinate!
We are really enjoying the bread cooked in this Dutch oven!

I made these for these two. I actually cut the crown from wood. The other is a thrift store make-over.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day is Almost Here!

      Have you thought about what to get your sweetie? I think I'm going to make mine his favorite chocolate pudding! He loves that stuff! And we might stay home and cook on the grill. Or I may fix his favorite pasta: Italian sausage with spaghetti. Most of the restaurants will be packed unless we go at 4:30 or 5:00. I don't want to eat that early, unless we don't eat lunch. Saturdays are always our busy 'work at home day', when Randy can work on the carport he's building for the camper. Or inside work if the weather isn't nice. He works outside a lot with his job so the weather has to be really bad for him to stay inside! I'm not one to plan too far in advance, so we'll see what we end up doing. 

      I've really been on a crafting spree this week! I have started quite a few projects that I'm excited about! Randy cut the wood for something I'm in the process of painting. First, I sanded it; next, I'll put the nails in. It's a secret until I finish, so you'll have to wait. I also transferred images to some little bags you'll see below. Just enough for each of the girls to have one, if I so choose. I think their Moms would like one instead. We'll see. If I had a booth, I'd put them in it to sell. I'm also ready to start making molds. I've read and watched videos so now I'm ready! I can hardly wait to do that! I also made gesso, or texture paste; whatever you want to call it. It turned out good. I added some more glue to thin it cause it was a little thick. It's used in mixed media for stenciling or anything you'd use gesso on.

      Our weather has been nice lately. I thought the hens would lay eggs, but not yet. I guess they knew the weather would get cold again. There have been years that we would just go right into Spring about March. It could still happen, but for the next week we will be experiencing much colder temps. I am truly thankful we don't have to deal with extreme cold and snow! I used to think when I was younger, that I would love to live in a more frigid climate. Not anymore! I'll take the thunderstorm over the Arctic Blast any day! Ya'll stay warm and have a wonderful Happy Valentine's weekend! Blessings from Bama!

Iron-on transfer bags. I love the roses!

Gesso on heart.

Lovely roses delivered by none other than the hubs himself!

Pink chalk paint.

Randy is so ingenious! He turned the sander upside-down so I could sand without trying to hold the sander and the wood! The clasp is pinched onto the on button so I don't have to hold it.

We had leftover smoked chicken so I put it in this tortilla soup. Oh man, is it good!

Smoked chicken alfredo, definitely better than Olive Garden!

Lovely little daffodils.

Made some more English muffins.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Six More Weeks of Winter?

      If today is any indication, that may be true! But with the warmer weather we've been experiencing lately, I doubt it holds true for us. Anyway, February is the shortest month of the year, and Spring is just around the corner. I will be planting seeds in a couple of weeks. Inside of course, unless I decide to grow cabbage or turnips. There are a lot of cooler weather crops I could plant, but we just couldn't eat all of them. Or should I say, I couldn't eat all of them unless I preserved them. I'm the only one who eats those sort of vegetables. Randy and Skylar like simple veggies such as corn, English peas, green beans, and occasionally potatoes. My main focus this year in the garden is going to be tomatoes. I haven't had good success growing them in the raised beds, so I'm planting them in the 'chicken yard'. The girls will be routed down another path so they won't eat my tomatoes and anything else I choose to plant. Green beans, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers grow easily in our garden so there will be some of those. I'll plant less this year as I had over-abundance of those last year. I'll also probably plant some peppers, but not too many. What are you planting in your garden this year?

      Today, as I was eating lunch I kept hearing something moving wood around, or knocking. It kept on as if someone were outside the door. I got a little nervous and went to investigate. To my surprise, the great big hen was at the door knocking! It was hilarious to see since I thought it could be an intruder. I opened the door and it frightened her so I quickly closed the door again. She hung around for the longest. I wonder what she's thinking. There are no bugs on the porch. I thought she might come inside out of curiosity. That wouldn't really be a good thing, especially if she got scared and I had to chase her around! It would be funny, though. Not to mention chicken poo everywhere! On second thought, I won't open the door for her again!

      My workouts are coming along very good. I do twenty-five minutes of Zumba, then my strength training. I really love it! My body has changed a lot since I started this new routine. I can hardly wait to get back into my skinny jeans! I'm not sending them to the thrift store just yet! I'm staying fuller longer with eating more protein and whole grains. I have been incorporating more beans into our meals. They provide protein and fiber, thus keeping us fuller longer. The guys aren't complaining, as I haven't really changed the evening meals. Just what I eat throughout the day.

      I haven't really been crafting much lately. I love to craft but I can't seem to find what I want to do. There are so many pretty things to make, but I can't decide which ones are for me. Randy said for me to just keep trying until I find the right thing, then perfect it. That sounds like a good idea! I just don't seem to have the same enthusiasm as I did during the holidays. Maybe I'll find my 'thing' soon! I guess right now I've been focused on following healthier recipes and working out. We did get the room up stairs more organized. I love it up there now! There's so much more room! Wished ya'll could join me in a class of Zumba! I could teach a Zumba class, but that means I'd have to be away from home. I don't really want to do that. It wouldn't be worth the drive to town and back. Oh well, I'll just stick to doing what I like.

      It's nice to see the days getting longer! I enjoy beautiful sunsets almost everyday! I just wished my camera could catch the beauty! Look outside your window tomorrow and capture the beautiful sunset. It will make you appreciate God's creation! Have a great week! Blessings from Bama!

Yummy scalloped potatoes!

My 'intruder'!

I thought I would try making my own pickled beets. I'll let ya'll know how they turn out.

I couldn't believe it when I saw these poking up the other day!

I tried making an Elsa headband. It doesn't look like the ones on the internet.

This would have been a good picture of us!

Randy smoked us some salmon in the smoker. It was delicious!

My better organized room.

The weight bench is my Valentine's gift from my 'sweetie'!