Thursday, September 11, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Sept. 11








{Pretty}

I have enjoyed the abundant blooms of the cosmos Lil' Wingnut planted.  I think they'll stick around until it frosts.  The lady bugs and bees have enjoyed them too.






{Happy}

These are my farming sloggers.  They are super comfy and very easy to hose off.






We harvested the volunteer cantaloupe this week.  It was absolutely delicious. I saved the seeds for next year so that we might have "deliberate" cantaloupes. Ha!





6 jalapeño plants seem to be the perfect number.  We have harvested 3 times.  I've canned pickled rounds, and roasted and froze the rest.  We'll have one more harvest that I hope I can use for the planned on canning of tomatillo salsa in just a few weeks.  Hold off on the frost!






{Funny}


This guy is a bundle of energy.  He is always asking me to take photos of him jumping.







{Real}



The mountains are beginning to turn color.  Fall and winter are not far off.  We should reach peak color in just a couple weeks and then snow will coat the mountains days later.






Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, September 4, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} September 4



{Pretty}


Special K has been posing for me while I practice taking silhouette shots. This was our favorite silhouette this week.






 {Happy}


The boys playing happily together--a rare occurrence.





{Funny}


Lil' Lamb has been posing for me lately, too.  His are usually silly poses, or jumping poses.  He's a bit of a ham.





{Real}


I've had a very large volunteer growing in my garden.  I thought maybe it was potato or a tomato plant.  Surprise! It's a tomatillo!!! I am so excited.  There are at least 2 dozen tiny tomatillos growing on the one plant.  I'm hoping we have enough growing season left to see these to maturity!


Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 1, 2014

Baked Gnocchi

1 lb bacon; diced and sautéed until crispy
4 cloves garlic; minced
pinch crushed red pepper
28 ounces diced roasted tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces sliced mushrooms; sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper
4 ounces goat cheese crumbles
2 cups baby spinach leaves
32 ounces gnocchi; prepared according to package directions
2 cups shredded mozzarella or your favorite Italian, melty cheese (we use pecorino tuscano)

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel covered plate and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the bacon fat. Gently sauté garlic and crushed red pepper for 30 seconds.  Carefully add tomatoes.  Sauté, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.  Add mushroom, goat cheese, and spinach.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir until spinach has just wilted.  Stir in prepared gnocchi. Spoon into a 9 x 13 casserole pan.  Top with cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

If you can find diced pancetta, use that instead of bacon--it is that much more delicious!





Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, August 29, 2014

Homeschool Plan 2014/2015

Believe it or not, we are already two weeks into our school year.  We have a big trip planned during this fall and so we needed to get a jump on math and science.  Once again, I am providing a list of what will be doing in our homeschool this year, as well as links for easy reference.  Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us and our new school year!




Wingnut Jr. 3rd/4th grade:

Math-- Saxon 5/4 (Christian Book)
Language--     The Well-Trained Mind Level 3 (Peace Hill Press)
                      Spelling Power (Christian Book)
                      Getty Dubay C (Christian Book)
History--          American History Civil War to Present (my own curriculum)*
                      Our American Heritage Map Study Skills (Christian Book)

Science--        The Animal World (my own curriculum)**

Art--                Artistic Pursuits Book Elementary 2 (Artistic Pursuits)

Music--             Piano lessons

Religion--         Virtues in Practice Year of Hope (Dominican Sisters)
                      The Apostolate's  Family Catechism

Latin--              Prima Latina (Memoria Press)




Special K 7th grade:


Math-- Saxon 8/7 (Christian Book)

Language--  Lightning Literature 7 (Hewitt Homeschooling)
                       Language Lessons for the Elementary Child (Queens Homeschooling)
                       Spelling Power (Christian Book)
                       Getty Dubay--44 United States Presidents (Christian Book)
                       Vocabulary from Classical Roots A (Christian Book)
                       The Creative Writer, Level 1 (Peace Hill Press)

History--           American History Civil War to Present (my own curriculum)
                       Milliken Map Skills United States (Christian Book)

Science--          Concepts and Challenges 3 (Emmanuel Books, although I don't believe it is available any longer)

Art--                  Artistic Pursuits Jr. High 2

Music--              Piano lessons

Religion--          Virtues in Practice Year of Hope
                       The Apostolate's Family Catechism

Latin-- Prima Latina



Skoshi A 10th grade:


Math-- Saxon Geometry (Christian Book)

Language-- Lightening Lit Shakespeare Tragedies and Comedies and Sonnets (Hewitt Homeschooling)

                             Writing with Skill Level 2 (Peace Hill Press)
Adventures in Editing part II (Peace Hill Press)

Vocabulary from Classical Roots D (Christian Book)

History-- MODG Ancient History and Literature (Emmanuel Books)

Penguin Historical Atlas Ancient Greece and Rome (Christian Book)


Science-- Prentice Hall  Biology (Kolbe Academy) ***

Art-- Artistic Pursuits High School 2 (Artistic Pursuits)

Foreign Lang-- Italian II (Rosetta Stone)

Religion-- Prove It! (Emmanuel Books)
                               The Apostolate's Family Catechism


* For American History we will be reading several historical fiction novels, biographies, using the appropriate History of US titles by Joy Hakim, using appropriate titles from Learning through History magazine as well as coupling our US history studies with grade level map skill resources.

** Several years ago I wrote a grade school level science curriculum that focused on the Animal Kingdom. It begins with learning about animal classification and then exploring each of the different animal phyla. The resources for study include several DK Eyewitness Books as well as Kingfisher's Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia. Wingnut Jr. will compile an illustrated journal for each phyla as he studies with drawings and observations he can record within.

*** For high school biology, I will rely heavily on the Kolbe Academy syllabus, while also accessing appropriate content from Khan Academy online. We have also joined up with several other homeschool families and will be offering labs and experiments in our home once a week. Most of our lab materials will come from Home Science Tools.



Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, August 28, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} August 28




{Pretty}


Skoshi A received a dragon kite for her birthday--following the theme All Things Hobbit ;) She was able to get it airborne for a few moments last evening in the breeze and I snapped a few shots.  This one was by far my favorite, capturing a cool sun flare against the lovely Utah sky, and of course my pretty girl ;)




{Happy}


This will be the first year we will actually save money having a garden.  It has done extremely well.  I spent last Saturday processing ripe veggies, including canning 8 pints of pickled jalapeños.  We've harvested zucchini, green beans, peas, asparagus, several varieties of lettuces, and cucumbers.  Our harvest, along with the generous gifts of swiss chard and kale from our neighbor, mean I haven't had to buy a vegetable in over a month.






Wingnut is more of a pie guy than a cake guy.  I made one of his favorites for his birthday yesterday--Dutch Apple Pie. Yum!




{Funny}


Lil' Lamb has become more cooperative of late for photographs.  This week, however, he was full of energy and could not stay still.  I still love this shot of him and laughed to see the flower petal clinging to his cheek from his roll in the flower bed.




 {Real}


Bad Bard isn't much better about having her photograph taken.  She is a bundle of energy and rarely stays still long enough to stay within my frame.  This was the best shot I got of her funny little face.  It doesn't show her true personality all that well.


For more  of this week's {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} check out Like Mother Like Daughter: {P, F, H, R}



Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bad Bard

A few months ago, our family went in on three baby goats with two other families in our neighborhood.  We spent an entire Saturday readying one of the neighbor's barns and barnyard for the goats, who would share the space with 20 chickens and a duck.  The men partitioned the barn so that each species of farm animal would have their own side and then fenced off several fruit trees.  That evening we introduced Elsa, Anna, and Bard to their new home and we patted ourselves on our backs.

Little did we know, goats are funny creatures and very smart and resourceful.  Before a day had gone by, the little escape artists had squeezed through a hole the chickens had trouble getting through and were in the garden, tearing it up.  The hole was boarded up and we thought we were clever for discovering their escape so quickly.

By the end of the third day, the goats had figured out how to get into the chicken's side of the barn and ate all of their feed.  We quickly remedied that issue and had a day or two of peace and complacency until we discovered, Bard is a jumper.  Oh boy, is she ever a jumper.  She can clear the three foot partition in the barn without a running start.  She can also leap on top of the roof of the  makeshift shelter in the barnyard and jump down into "no-goat's land" and has managed to strip all the fruit trees nearly bare.

Our neighbor sought the advice of experienced goat farmers and we attempted hobbling her for a few days, but found, even hobbled, she could leap on top of the three foot tall roof.  We ended up having to sequester her in the makeshift shelter, thus isolating her from her companions, which she did not like at all.  She's a bawler and now all the neighborhood knows it.  After a few days of hobbling and isolation, we let her wander free again, and discovered she is very, very smart.  She had learned her lesson and did not much like her punishment.  Once again, we patted ourselves on our backs for our cleverness in teaching a goat self-discipline.

Ha! The sneaky little thing just learned to be naughty when we weren't watching.  The fruit trees bore the evidence of her deviousness.  She was leaping back and forth over the fencing and eating away at the low hanging fruit without our ever seeing her.  She's a crafty one.

We are mulling solutions.  At times we want to give her up and try and sell her. At times we find her antics to be all too charming.  She is a sweet thing and very friendly.  We've been reassured she will eventually become too large and heavy to jump the heights she currently has mastered.  If we can just wait her out until she can be bred.  She will calm down.  Building up the fence a tad higher would take another precious Saturday, one that we've had trouble coordinating between the busy schedules of three busy homeschooling families.  Right now we are trying to mitigate the problem by staking Bard on our land.  We don't yet have the barn/barnyard set up for housing her, so during the day, we stake her near our garden and set watch over her, lest she figure out how to pull up stakes, so to speak.  She loves the kids and the company.  If we even attempt to sit at the edge of the garden, no more than 20 feet from her, she begins to bawl.  It's rather pathetic.  This is only a temporary fix.  Once schedules have settled, we will have to come up with a much more permanent solution to the problem of Bad Bard.







Bad Bard is enjoying the morning glory and other weeds in our field.







This is how we spent the afternoon, taking selfies with the goat.








She loves the boys and will cuddle right up to them.









She's very loving and friendly like a puppy, but she doesn't nip or bark.  She just bawls and eats everything in sight.

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm Beginning to find the ALS Bucket Challenge Offensive

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has brought unprecedent recognition as well as record donations to the ALS Association, all in the hopes of increasing research in diagnosing, treating, and curing the currently incurable, debilitating, and ultimately fatal Lou Gehrig's disease.  The Challenge has gone completely viral on social media, with friends, celebrities, and politicians posting video of themselves speaking a bit about ALS, challenging others, and then having a bucket of ice water dumped over their heads.  What is the challenge?  Either dump a bucket of ice water over your own head within 24 hours and post a video of yourself doing so to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like, and then challenge another three or more friends to do the same. If you fail to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge you are asked to donate $100 to an ALS charity.

It seems innocuous on the surface, but in reality it isn't.  First of all, there are those morally offended by ALSA receiving mass donations, as they are vocal supporters of embryonic stem cell research.  These folks offend others who aren't as put off by embryonic stem cell research and find anyone who would denounce the work ALSA is doing as complete jerks.  A solution was put forth that folks could instead donate to any other ALS charity, such as JPIIMRI.org, which does not support ESCR.  Ok, fine. I guess that works.

I get it.  Some people are personally touched by ALS.  They may even have loved one's with the disease, and for that I am sorry.  The Ice Bucket Challenge really is a nice idea, until the bullying starts.  Today, our son was called a vile name because he had the nerve to decline the challenge.  He was told he had to pay up.  Wow, really?  He didn't ask to be "challenged".  No one should bully others into doing anything for charity.  It actually works against the true nature and meaning of charity.  Charity should be done out of love not out of peer pressure, and not as a public act as it is being done on social media.

And now I shall step down off my soap box.

Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, August 18, 2014

15--My How Time Flies!





Our little Angel baby.  Wasn't this just yesterday?









Ha! Apparently not!  Because THIS was yesterday!







She's still our Angel baby ;)


Happy 15th birthday, Skoshi A!  May God continue to Bless you in the coming years!

Print Friendly and PDF

Saturday, August 16, 2014

An Unexpected Sleepover

This weekend we successfully planned a Middle Earth themed birthday party for 15 year old Skoshi A.  Of course it was mostly about the food and decorations.  We used recipes from Oleander's Hobbit Cookbook by S. A. Martel and decoration ideas from Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda.  It was a simple celebration that was thoroughly enjoyed by Skoshi A and her five guests.







The banners and signs were printed on ecru colored card stock using free Middle Earth inspired fonts we found online.




The table was set using our good china and real cloth napkins--an unusual treat in this house.





For dinner, we served sautéed swiss chard with lemon and garlic, 



homestyle fried potatoes



and honey pork chops with sautéed apples (recipe from book mentioned above)




For breakfast, we served seed cake (from the book)




sausages and nice crispy bacon,




and eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.




Luckily we didn't have any dwarves or wizards stop by.  There wasn't a morsel left for unexpected callers.




Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, August 7, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Aug 7




round button chicken





{Pretty}



There is rarely a day that goes by that the sky isn't absolutely stunning here in Utah.





{Happy}


Lil' Lamb has had such a good summer.  We've really done a lot of activities around our area.  Trips to the park are a weekly venture.





We've toured Antelope Island twice this summer.  He loves his binoculars.





{Funny}


Wingnut Jr. found a praying mantis and has been keeping it as a pet.




 {Real}


With trench composting, I never know what volunteers might pop up.  What a surprise to discover this cantaloupe among my onions and potatoes.  I'm not sure there is enough growing season left to get this melon to the proper ripeness.  We shall see.



Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Friends for Life

This summer has been very busy.  We've travelled some and we've had visitors.  It's really been wonderful.  In May, the Godfamily came to celebrate Wingnut Jr.'s First Holy Communion.  Godmother and I took the opportunity to pose for a photo together while touring the ranch on Antelope Island.


Godmother and Me


Just last week, another dear friend and her lovely daughters came for a visit.  She is also a dear friend of Godmother, and I have missed them both sorely. Dear C and I also posed together for a photo at the ranch on Antelope Island.



Dear C and Me



Dear C's talented daughter managed to merge the two photos together.  Although we were not all physically together again, we will always be together in friendship and spirit. Now if we could just get Mallu Mom squeezed into the shot.  Good friends are hard to come by.  I have definitely been blessed.


Reunited
Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Getting Back on Track

The weight has crept back on since Thanksgiving, when I was at my lowest weight in more than 15 years. Sigh.  I haven't been running consistently at all.   I've been so fatigued that I end up taking naps as often as possible.  Getting out of bed in the morning is a huge chore, and my joints hurt.  I know eating better and exercise are the only real remedy for the malaise. And now I'm seeing I really need to eliminate sugar from my diet completely, no matter how much I run and watch everything else in my diet, the sugar is lethal.

It's that season in life, the very back side of fertility and the downward slope toward bing an old lady. Well, my body may be feeling it, but that doesn't mean I have to succumb to it.  Yesterday, I made the commitment to get back on track; to exercise again and more often, to eat more lean protein, fruits and veggies and to get enough fiber into my diet.  Hopefully, I'll be back to where I was last year by Thanksgiving this year.
Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, July 24, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} July 24





round button chicken




{Pretty}


We planted so many new flowers this year.  It's been fun watching them bloom.  Wingnut Jr. planted cosmos in early June and was so excited to see they are finally blooming.  We have white . . . 






. . . and fuchsia.






I love to photo graph these flowers, known as Lucifer Crocosmia.  Special K planted them two years ago. They are super cool to watch grow and bloom and also a very fun subject to photograph.  I love experimenting with DOF (depth of field) and POV (point of view) with these beauties.






{Happy}


The bees are happily popping from one flower to the next collecting pollen and nectar.





{Funny}


Wingnut Jr. got his hands on my Canon and started snapping shots, and so I joined in and snapped a few shots of him snapping shots. ;)







For some reason I just love this silly shot he took of me and his little brother in the background.






{Real}



I've been taking a series of photos of the life cycle of this Dahlia for my 365 Project.  She was lovely in her glory, but she is definitely fading quickly.




Print Friendly and PDF