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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Time and Creativity

Give the kids some time, brown paper bags, scissors, duct tape, throw in some crayons, a few odds-n-ends, and you end up with...


Princess Kate and Sir Koen

Put mom in the kitchen with a recipe minus a few ingredients and you end up with .... dinner, if you are lucky.

Actually tonight's dinner was inspired by a fellow blogger over yonder at Chickens in the Road.  If you follow that link you will see my inspiration.  If you choose not to you will be missing out.  Remember my post about the leeks that my grocery store didn't have?  Well this is the post that sent me in search of the food I had never prepared.  
Did I ever find them?  Yes.  Did I use them to make this recipe?  Not yet.  Instead, I made my own version of pot pie goodness.
Oh yes indeed, pot pie goodness and then some!

First there is the crust, one word name, MARTHA!  I made a pie crust a few years back using a Martha Stewart crust recipe I had jotted down while watching one of her shows.  Many of her recipes are a bit over my head, but this one was SO SIMPLE!  Click Here to check it out.  If you  make it let me know what you think.  I really like it and it really is so very easy to make.  Crust should never be a scary thing, it just shouldn't.  I put my assistant cook Ms. Carley J to work on the crust.  She did a fabulous job.

Okay now on to the good stuff - the filling.

In an electric skillet I browned 1lb of mild sausage,
removed it from the skillet and set aside.
Next I placed 3 diced potatoes (small to medium in size) and half of a large diced vidallia onion in the skillet and sautéed them for a few minutes.
Then I lowered the temp and added half a bag of mixed vegetables.  I put the lid on my skillet and let them simmer for about 20 minutes or so.
Once the potatoes were tender and the vegetables were warm I added those to the bowl with the browned sausage.
The roux is next.  Place 2 Tbsp of butter in the skillet with 2 Tbsp of flour.  Blend together with a whisk until fully combined then slowly add milk.  I ended up using about 1.5 cups of milk to get the consistency I was looking for.  I also added some salt, pepper, and garlic powder for taste.  
When the roux was done I poured it over the sausage mixture and gave the mixture a good stir.
I rolled the pie crust out and placed it in a deep dish pie plate.  Then lovingly heaped the sausage mixture into the dish.
Next I rolled the top crust, folded and sealed the edges, and placed it in the oven @375* for 45 min. 
I didn't take any extra steps (like brushing the top with egg whites) for that extra golden look.  I might next time, or if I decide to serve this to guests.  
I was very happy with the outcome, and thankful to my fellow blogger for the inspiration.
The family all agreed this was "good dinner".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Year 5 of a life sentence



For those of you who don’t know, I grounded Rodi from playing basketball when we were living in Germany.  It was early in 2005 when the grounding took place.  The reason at the time was due to the fact that he had to cut his wedding band off his finger.  He had been getting some injury or another every time he played the silly game and the cutting of the wedding band was my last straw.  I grounded him, simple as that.
A few weeks later while he was doing an exercise with his unit I received a call from the medical officer of his unit.  This is something a wife never wants to get after 10 at night, well at anytime.  I was told he had badly injured his leg and was in an ambulance on his way to the Emergency room.  My heart sank.  I was VERY pregnant which didn’t help, as my emotions were all over the place. I was imagining the worst.   Towards the end of the phone call I hear the Dr. say  “he was playing basketball when the injury happened.”  BASKETBALL!  Oooh I went from being scared for my husband,  to being extremely mad.  Then the Dr. told me he knew about the grounding, he (the Dr.) had assured Rodi that the grounding didn’t apply once you crossed a country border.  HA!
Now fast-forward 5 years and stop when you get to Monday, September 27, 2010.  You would think that we would be done with that knee injury, instead we found ourselves in the hospital getting Rodi prepped  for surgery.  Apparently when he had surgery in 2005 the tear in his ACL had not been repaired.  (go ahead and say it... ouch!)  So my superhero, my rock, my Mr. Everything, has been walking around in pain for 5 years with a torn ACL.  He has only played basketball once (that I know of) since that injury, and he hurt his foot.  I made him go to the hospital for x-rays, he wasn't happy with me.  My theory - commit the crime, do the time.  I am serious about this grounding thing.  His is a life sentence.
Yesterday was a hard day for me.  I can't stand to see him in pain, and he was in plenty of it. 
There was one bright spot in our day....
Bertie Mae!
No, we didn't take her with us to the hospital.  I think they frown upon things like that.  The nurse was checking Rodi in and when she got to the part where she had to check his feet for swelling she noticed his black toenail.  She asked if he had dropped something on his foot.  We couldn't help it, we both started to giggle.  She looked at us oddly.  We then proceeded to tell her that our cow had stepped on his foot.  The expression on her face was priceless.  I guess not that many patients at the military hospital have cows at home.  We almost busted out laughing when she asked us how we got the cow's foot off of Rodi's foot.  Poor Bertie Mae she didn't mean to step on his foot, she removed her foot just as fast as she put it down.  Why the nurse thought Bertie Mae would just stand there with her foot like a brick on Rodi's foot is a mystery to me.  It did make me smile though.  Smiling is a good thing when the rest of your day is going to be full of stress.
His surgery was the longest three hours, but he came out just fine and I can breathe again.  He thinks it is silly for me to be worried about a simple knee surgery.  Like I said he is my superhero, my rock, and my Mr. Everything, even a simple surgery puts him at risk, therefore I WILL worry.
Now we move on to recovery... I am sure there will be tales to tell in the coming days.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

McRodi had a farm.....

I won't call him Old McRodi, that would be rude.  Plus if he is old then so am I.  We just won't go there. It is a mood spoiler.

McRodi's job, throwing 120 bales of hay into the loft.




My job.... counting the bales as he tossed them in.  It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.  
KC was in the loft neatly stacking the bales that were rapidly being tossed his way.  That's right, McRodi was McSpeedy tossing those bales up there.  Like I said counting was a tough job.  I was worried I wasn't going to be able to keep up.


 Koen stood his ground protesting the storage of his soon to be super-cool army bunkers.
 Oh, the trials of life for a 5 year old.  
He finally gave in and joined his brother in the loft.

It was a sweaty task for us.  Okay, not so sweaty for the counter. The boys however, were sweaty and covered in hay.  McRodi had a charitable event to attend today and I was pretty sure the sweaty hay look wasn't going help him blend in to the crowd.


Mabel couldn't believe her eyes... was this McRodi?  


Wow, he cleans up good!


Mabel still in disbelief called her best gal-pal Lois over to see if this was indeed McRodi.  
No jeans, no t-shirt, could it really be him?






One look and Lois had no doubt, this was indeed 
Crazy Old McRodi.

You can dress him up, but that doesn't mean you can take him off the farm.

Crazy or not he is mine, and I love that man!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Curious???

Curious?  
Wanna know where I have been hiding? 
Where, oh where have I been?  
What could I possibly be doing that would keep me from my daily blogging?

Was I busy with the kids and their schooling?  
Of course, but not too busy to blog here and there.

Was I back to the drawing board with my chicken tractor plans?
Absolutely, now that my cattle panel chicken limo is on its way to becoming my greenhouse.  Back the drawing board I go. Still, that leaves me plenty of time to post a daily adventure now and then.

Rodi is back from his travels, maybe I am enjoying time with him?
YES I AM!  However he did have to go right back to work.  While his return covers my absence this past weekend, it does not account for my vanishing act during the week.  

Where oh where have I been?  What could possibly be using so much of my free time  (ha! as if that really exists) that I couldn't fit in a post or two?

THIS is what I have been up to......


It isn't quite finished yet.  This is the from the front
*Stating the obvious is a talent I come by quite naturally*


Bet you didn't know this was the back.  
You did?  
Of course you did!  
My readers are very intelligent.


Next time you see a picture of this adorable sweater it will have sleeves, be trimmed in red, have the most adorable red buttons. It will also be ready to be worn by a sweet little baby.
Or maybe hang in the baby's closet until he or she is a toddler and it finally fits.  I sorta made it a little big.  
Right now I am smiling the cutest smile as I remind you that this is the first sweater I have ever made!  I was strictly a scarf and an occasional hat kind of gal before.

Now that you can see just what I have been doing, I know you will forgive me for slacking in my daily posts.  I promise I will try to do better in the coming days.  I am a homeschooling mother of 4, I should be better at multi-tasking than this. 
*smiles, and returns to her duties of the day*

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Party in the Garden!


I just can't get over this late producing garden of mine!  We are in drought conditions and still.... grow little melon, grow!  
If you look closely, you will see bell peppers growing behind my sweet little egg man.  

Party on garden, party on!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Little Jack is Growing Up!

 Found this baby picture of Jack.  Wasn't he such a sweet little bull calf?
Just a short year later he seems so big, for something miniature anyway.


Just one of those days...

Today was just one of those days.  It wasn't terrible, just long and really full.  So full that it is just now midnight and I am finally able to sit-down to blog.

I was cruising along the interstate of blogs this morning and I came upon this post about building a $150 greenhouse.  Check out the link and see if it reminds you of my limo of a chicken tractor???
  
I may just have to evict the hens and turn this baby into a small greenhouse.  Of course I would have to finish the chicken tractor and let the hens call it home before I could actually evict them.  It has been a long week, between Rodi traveling and my "not being sick" and all.  I keep looking out the window, seeing it, knowing it needs to be finished, just not having the energy or time to accomplish such a task.  Maybe I wasn't meant to complete it as a chicken tractor? Maybe I was inspired to only take it this far so I could read the post on Backyard Farming and turn it into a little garden paradise.  Sounds good to me, anyway.  Let's just go with that train of thought.

Next I hopped over to one of my favorite blogs Chickens in the Road and decided that I needed to plant leeks in my garden, and I needed to do it TODAY!  I needed to go to the grocery store anyway.  Might as well pick up some leeks while I was there.  I envisioned returning home and making THIS for dinner.  Once it was in the oven I would take my little leek root ends out to the garden and happily plant them.  In the spring they would be lovely and we would enjoy all kinds of meals flavored with leeks (something new for us).  
What I hadn't planned on, was the store not having leeks!  I have seen them there hundreds of times.  I always looked, half-interested in them, not knowing what in the world one did with a leek.  Now I know and I am being DENIED!  It just seemed wrong.  I grabbed some onions (which now just seem boring), the rest of my much needed groceries and returned home. Dinner was not what I had planned. I was irritated about the lack of leeks.  It was also late in the evening.  No need to ask what the kids ate, it wasn't spectacular.  It also won't win me mommy of the year award.  Home-cooked? Only if pressing buttons on the microwave counts as cooking.  Sad, I know, but true. 
I have spent most of my night putting away groceries, and putting together the kids lesson plans for the next couple of weeks.  I am not quite finished with the lesson plans.  I am just too tired.  Plus I need my beauty sleep, RODI is coming home tomorrow!!!!  Oh I know he has only been gone a week, but even after all these years I am head over heels in love with the man. I can't stand being so far apart.  Plus he is great at all the farming skills that I am so very lacking in.  The cows and horses are always glad to see him return.  It is as if you can sense their relief when they realize that McRodi has returned.  It's okay, I am the chicken manager, it's what I do. I am not offended by the overwhelming sense of comfort he brings to the larger animals around here.  Even the dog likes him better. Like I said, I am head over heels for the guy, so I understand.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Barnyard Burial

It is such a sad day when there is a loss in the barnyard.  Today was no exception.
Poor lil' fella just didn't see it coming.


This is not his picture, just a distant cousin I suppose.

KC was outside working Gypsy in the round pen

getting her to change direction and do so turning towards him.  Big moment!  A lot of respect is being shown by her when she does that.  So much nicer than her turning her backside towards him.  Great Job!
She was getting tired and decided to try a face-off.  He won.  She made it around the pen one more time before he decided they were done for the day.
Then she came in and got some lovin' 

Oh yeah... back to the poor little fella.  While KC was working Gypsy something happened to the electric fence in the back near the barn.  There was a lot of popping noises and it was spooking the horses.  He investigated but couldn't find anything.  He found me and I headed over to see if I could find the problem.  I looked and looked but couldn't see a thing.  We unplugged the wire, walked around and around, trying to see if there was something rubbing up against the wire.  We couldn't find anything.  I had him plug it back in to see if the popping had stopped.  Just as he plugged it back in I heard the popping and then I saw it, the poor little grasshopper.  I am sure he thought he was just going hop up onto the wire for a little bit of a rest.  What he didn't count on... that metal t-post that he was going to come into contact with as he landed on the wire.
Poor little grasshopper.  It really was very sad.

SUCCESS!

Last night the girls and I experimented a bit with their hair. 
 I put Kate's hair in a pony tail and then rolled it in several traditional style curlers.
I tried something different with Carley J's hair.  I don't know why I have never tried rag curls before, but I just haven't.  I was nervous about her hair.  She just has so much of it! I didn't want her to look like a poodle in the morning.  I have first hand knowledge that those cute little pink curlers can make her sport a mega poodle style.  Poor kid, whose mom does that?  Apparently hers.

This morning we took out the rollers and .....

the pink rollers produced an okay outcome for Kate's cute little pony tail.  I am prepared for her hair to be straight by lunch though.  Her hair just won't hold curls.  Being a naturally curly girl myself, this idea of a curl that won't hold  just seems odd.  

I must say if it were a contest between the rag curls and the pink rollers, the rag curls win hands down!  We were very happy with the outcome here.  No poodles here.  
No two legged ones anyway.  If given the chance we would gladly have another 4 legged poodle. 

Now that my girls are enjoying their curls, I am off to heat up my flat iron and straighten my curly locks.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

late night thoughts

It is late, I am feeling a little better, but I still can't sleep.  

I was looking around, noticing how I have let things go this week while I have been "pretending to not be sick".  I wondered if June Cleaver ever "let things go" around her home.  Do you think she took off her heels and put on fuzzy slippers?  If she dared to roam around in a bulky robe, would she dress it up with a strand of pearls?  For some reason I just don't think June Cleaver ever got sick. 

Next my thoughts moved to our little farm.  Our crazy little farm.  When we moved here we never imagined miniature cows would be calling it home as well.  Okay maybe Rodi did. He may have had it planned all along.  I laugh remembering how just weeks before a six month deployment we he purchased our first lil' cows.  I didn't even know the difference between a heifer and a cow back then.  How in the world did he trust me to take care of these while he traveled the open seas?  Somehow we managed.  We even had a birth while he was away.  Well Molly (the cow) had a birth, not me.

I have grown to love our little cows. They also make an exceptional grounds crew, keeping the grass under control.  Now if I could just keep them from making such a mess of the barn?

My thoughts went rushing back to this past winter.  Rodi was deployed in Israel and the kids and I were facing all sorts of battles here at home.  At one point my uniform consisted of rain gear and a portable sump pump.
Not my idea of a good thing.  
Husker thought it was a dream come true.
There was a busted pipe in the yard.  Such fun!  The best part was crawling under the house to pump out the 6-8 inches of water that was sitting there, mocking me.
That was almost as much fun as the banana and the toilet.  Well let's just not go there.  Let's just say it involved a certain 4 year old and his desire to make my life interesting at all times. 
"I don't know mama, maybe someone flushed a banana down there"  
Love that kid!  Wish I could have fixed the toilet sooner than the 15 days that it took.  I really can't even say I fixed it.  It just sorta took care of itself.
Those few months were like living on a bad modern day version of Green Acres.
Only one thing, I never looked as put together as Lisa (Eva Gabor)

Time to turn off the television and get some much needed rest.  

When Mom has a foggy head.....

When mom has a foggy head you might just look like this by the time the day is done.




The girls are just hoping what they wake up to in the morning isn't nearly as scary!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Couple of Gals Out on the Town

I hope you can forgive me for my lack of posting the past couple of days.  I was still pretending to not be sick.  I was trying to pretend real hard. I even thought about asking my princess Kate to throw fairy dust my way, hoping to make my dream of being able to breathe like a normal person come true.  I decided that asking her would be silly.  I mean, she is a princess.  A princess doesn't have fairy dust.  Unless of course she is a fairy princess...hmmmm I wonder?

Okay, that is enough of the cold meds. talking, time for me to take over this post again.

Every week Rodi and I take one of the kids out on a date.  Tonight was lil' miss Kate's night out.  Rodi wasn't going to be able to make it out with us tonight, so after her dance class Kate and I headed straight over to Wal-Mart.  Just what you think of when you think of a mommy-daughter date isn't it?  Kate likes to take us shopping for her date night, thankfully there is a $5 limit.  Basically Rodi and I usually get ice cream with one of the kids each week.  Do you see the brilliance in our plan?  Kate and Koen like to see just how far they can stretch their $5.  Two weeks ago Koen came home with some serious loot for his $5.  It was actually pretty impressive.  Tonight Kate found two card games that were on clearance.  One was $2 the other was $3.  I decided to throw in the tax.  This girl of ours loves games, especially ones that involve the whole family gathering around the table and playing together.  She can't seem to get enough when it comes to family time.  I foresee many hours of Crazy 8's in my future.

As we were leaving my cold attacked me, like hit on the head with a hammer, attacked me.  My decision to cough was a terrible choice.  My throat was so sore, my head pounding, no relief in sight.  Then, I saw it....
 And guess what they serve?
She sort of got a bonus on our date tonight.  But it was all to make her sweet mommy's throat feel better. That is our story and we are sticking to it!
Oh and the lil' bugger saw the picture of the old school McD's on the wall and asked me "So is that really what McDonald's looked like when you were a kid?"  
Sweet isn't she?
I nicely replied "No" and then cringed at the thought of how old she must think her mother really is.  Did she see the gray hair I found the other day?  I pulled it out rather quickly, I didn't think anyone else had seen it.
She made up for it as we walked through the parking lot back to the van.  We were strolling along savoring the yumminess of our ice cream when she looks up at me and said, "This is really good.  Funny it doesn't taste like vanilla though, it sorta tastes like peacock"
OH I thought I was gonna need some depends right there in the parking lot!  I am old ya know.  She could not figure out why I was laughing so hard.  
I asked her "peacock?"
to which she replied "yeah, peacock, like those cupcakes we made"  
 "Oh, yeah I remember the peacock cupcakes" I said with a smile.  "I think I usually call them pecan cupcakes though."
Her only reply was a smile. 
I love these kids of mine, they make me giggle.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Little Pick-Me-Up

Sharing is good, at least that is what I keep trying to teach the kids.  This morning however, I am reminded that some types of sharing are not so good.  For instance, germ sharing... yeah, not so good.

I am miserable.  My head is stuffy, my throat is scratchy, and I just wanna stay in bed all day.

I did make it a point to go out this morning and enjoy the animals and this beautiful preview of fall weather.  The sun was shining and the breeze was gently blowing my hair, reminding me how desperately in need I am for a cut and style.  

Rosebud looks like she needs a good combing of the wild mane too.  
 I can just hear the thoughts running through her head... "People, do you not understand the importance of looking your best for photos?"
Sorry Rosebud.  We will make sure your next photo shoot isn't so "candid"
Gypsy looks like she is a tad irritated with the impromptu photo shoot too.  Oh well, even with a messy mop they are both still beautiful in this morning light.
I interrupted Jack's breakfast.  Where are my manners this morning?   I can't help it, my head is stuffy and I am not thinking straight.  I do hope the animals are forgiving.
 I think Tonka is giving me the cold shoulder.  What do you think?

The animals seem to be less than thrilled with my morning invasion with the camera.  For me, it was fun.  I love watching them through the lens and seeing bits and pieces of their personalities come out.  They are all very aware of me and my camera.  

While I was off having fun, pretending to not be sick.  The "boys" were doing this...
We still have round bales to pick up, but the square ones are now nicely tucked away.  

On my way back to the house I stopped by the garden area to see if our late season surprise was getting any bigger.  This year's garden has been full of surprises.
We didn't get one melon all summer long.  Now that we are in September... the vine is full of blooms and this melon just gets bigger and bigger.  We also have bell peppers and jalapeños popping up left and right.  It is a mystery to me but one that made me smile this morning.  Anything that can make me forget for just a minute that I am not feeling well is a good thing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Dinner


If I want to guarantee happy children at the dinner table, I serve.... 



Lovingly referred to as MONSTER PANCAKES at our home. I think other people call them German pancakes.

My kids LOVE this any day of the week.  This is why I need those hens of mine to get busy filling our fridge with eggs!  My family has grown over the years so I now have to double the recipe.  Doing so requires 12 eggs.  That many eggs means we don't eat this dish that often.    I use my 7qt sauteuse  pan to bake it in when I am doubling the recipe.  When I cook like normal people (only using 6 eggs) I use my trusty 9x13 pan.

RECIPE
6 eggs
1cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

2 TBSP Butter

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

Place 2 TBSP butter in baking dish and place in oven until pan is hot and butter is melted. 
( I use more butter shhhh.... don't tell my secret)

for the next part you can use a blender, mine broke *sigh* , so I just mix by hand, boring I know.

Mix the flour and milk together, add the eggs, salt, sugar, & vanilla together until well blended.

If you have everything ready before you put the pan in the oven to melt the butter you can do the mixing while the pan gets all buttery hot.

Pour the batter into the HOT pan.
Place pan back into the oven and bake for 20 min. (25-30min if doubling)

When it is done you will have a beauty of bubbly goodness.  We sprinkle ours with powdered sugar, cut into wedges and serve with syrup (might as well live it up right?)

I also make a version with apples and cinnamon talk about scrumptious!!!










Lonely Days....


Poor Husker, all alone with no partner in crime.  Up until he was 14 months old he was our one and only canine.  Then we brought Ginni home (a sweet chocolate lab).  Oh how he loved Ginni, well to be honest it was more of a love/hate relationship with the two of them, but he had someone to play with (or torture) all day long.  Ginni had to be re-homed this past July (long story for another day) and Husker was once again our lone canine.  Not for long though...


Justice soon found her way into our little zoo.  Her owners (also a military family) had orders to go to Japan, and sweet Justice was not going to be able to join them.  Husker was in puppy heaven!  Another playmate, and a cute one at that.  They spent hours running around this place.  It was however, not meant to be.  Something crazy happened and Justice's owners ended up staying stateside.  That's right folks, no moving to Japan.  Even crazier, they were able to snag orders returning them to our area.  So after a month of love and play Husker is once again our one and only canine.  Justice will come back for play dates I am sure.  I just feel so sad for my poor Husker pup.  He looks so lonely.