Thursday, December 22, 2011

Puzzle Time

After a breakfast of homemade granola, we're doing a 1000 piece puzzle and watching Twelfth Night. What a cozy morning.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christmas Party

The Younger Crew, a couple of cousins and a neighbor kid had a bunch of fun last night decorating sugar cookies. They also enjoyed some homemade pizza, sparkling ciders and a movie. It was a fun little Christmas party!

Cookie Decorating

The Crew, a cousin and a neighbor

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Movie Night

Here's the popcorn, ready for movie night. Well, two thirds of the popcorn. Yeah, I fix a full five gallon bucket full when we have popcorn. Doesn't everybody?

The Crew's Popcorn

For each batch, melt 2 Tbsp coconut oil. Add 2/3 cup of kernels and pop. Top with 1/4 cup melted butter and lots of kosher salt. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Newest Project and Randomness

I've been in a crocheting mood, as I often am in the winter. As usual, that means I am making a scrap afghan. I may donate this one to the Hidden Treasure auction in February to benefit Moses, Noah and Jacob's adoption, should it get finished. I have been known to start a project or two and not finish them, despite my good intentions.

We're going to be doing a deep clean of the house this week. I created a nicely detailed list for each room so that we don't forgot any minor areas. I'm shooting for it to take three days or less. The Lambies are excited. /sarc

Why do I always get itchy to de-clutter right before Christmas?

My Honey is such a great handyman! It seems that there are more and more fix-it projects around here keeping him busy. I'm so thankful for the many skills he has and that he is passing them along to our oldest son.

Kittens grow fast. Where did our Baby Ohren go?

Children grow fast, too. My oldest daughter can go get her permit as soon as she feels ready.

I love that all our Christmas shopping is finished already.

I've been gluten free for 12 weeks now. I have had gluten accidentally a couple of times and purposely a couple of times. I don't feel deprived. I don't miss wheat in general. I do miss English Muffins once in a while. When I do, I eat one, then have a sugar coma.

Almond flour and coconut flour are indispensable .

Troubles loves Crinkleroot. I truly wish our library had more than two of his books.

Cross-lateral movements seem to be working wonders for Missy. She is talking noticeably better; in full sentences and clearly. She is progressing slightly in reading, too.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Merry Christmas To Me!

Is it wrong to order things you want for yourself in December? I may 'let' my Honey wrap them back up after I browse through them for a day or two....we'll see.

The Joy of Giving

The Hidden Treasure auction for Lina has ended with a glorious number! $2120.00! Thanks to anyone who is reading here that has donated or bid. Look for another auction to begin in February. This time, it is benefitting THREE boys who are coming home as brothers. What a privilege it is to be able to assist their family in bringing them out of the orphanage and into their home.

Until then, More Than Conquerors is hosting a giveaway to help Sergei and the other Passed Over Ones at Reece's Rainbow. These children have lingered on the Waiting List for years. Think about that. While others are chosen, these kids have been passed over time and time again. They are all creeping ever nearer that horrible fate: being transferred. You see, at the age of 5-6, these little darlings are taken from the orphanages they call home, such as they are, and transferred to adult mental institutions. Most don't live a year after transfer. They are such desolate places. Little food, little care, little protection from the others.

Please, let's all give just a little to nudge their funds higher and alleviate the financial burden that a family would have if they chose one of these little ones. Just five dollars....just a cup of coffee!...can help save their lives. What stocking stuffer can do that?

Is there a better way to honor Christ in this season of giving than to include the orphans as you share what He has so generously given to you? Please pray for them, too. There is joy in giving. It makes us feel like we've done something and we have. But, oh, the power of prayer. That is the real game-changer. Will you be in prayer for them? Will you intercede on their behalf? The battle belongs to the Lord!

"Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:17.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

California in December

Missy and Troubles would like to show off the leaf candy cane that they created this evening. Our leaves finally started falling a few days ago. They've been waiting not-so-patiently until there were enough to rake up and play in. Tonight was the night they got to play!

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hidden Treasures

There's an auction going on that you do not want to miss! Hidden Treasures is a blog that is fundraising for the children who are being rescued from the same orphanage that Katie lived in. The little ones are all so malnourished and desperate but each one has a family raising funds as fast as possible to come and get them.

Liberate Angelina "Lina" Mariana

The current auction will benefit lovely little Lina. She is five years old and only 11 pounds. She will thrive at home with her loving parents and siblings! Have you peeked at sweet little Katie today? There's pictures there that you will LOVE!

Look through the items and bid on your treasure. If you have an item to donate or would like to offer a gift certificate or other item, e- mail and let them know. I love this idea! Everyone can do something to help this precious little child!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Passed Over Babes

My friend Julia has blogged touchingly once again about darling little children who need a home. The Passed Over Ones...the ones who are STILL longing for a family, yet are languishing at an orphanage or even in a mental institution instead.

These who aren't as little, aren't as happy in their picture, aren't as lovely, according to the world's standards. The ones who have been on Reece's Rainbow for years. Years. Think about that. Think about them being passed over time and time again as others are chosen. Oh, how He loves them!

Julia and her friend Debby have put together a giveaway to benefit these children. Go over to her blog to see all of them....Donate just $5 to two children to enter. You can make a difference this "Cyber Monday". Rather than buying a passing fancy, make a difference for eternity!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The First One!

After it hung on precariously throughout our Thanksgiving vacation, an hour and a half after getting home, Troubles lost his very first tooth! What an excited six year old we have tonight! More pictures of vacation coming tomorrow...stay tuned.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Best and the Worst: Thanksgiving Edition

I'm joining with Renee at The Baker's Dozen with a Best and Worst.

The Best News of the week? Katie is home and doing well.
The Worst? There are so many others waiting. Pray, browse their stories on Reece's Rainbow and advocate for someone!

The Best Thing about driving two cars to Grandpa and Grandma's house? All my Littles slept much of the way and I got to listen to my audiobook.
The Worst? Not getting to sit next to my husband as he drove.

The Best Thing about eating gluten-free for Thanksgiving? No sugar coma or bloating after feasting.
The Worst? Not having stuffing. We visit with family and I couldn't make and bring too much. I will make this stuffing recipe for a side dish at home soon.

The Best Part of the beginning of the Christmas shopping season? We are already finished shopping! No Black Friday fighting for us.
The Worst? Waiting until Christmas morning to see the children's faces when they see their gifts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lasagna Casserole

Excuse the messy stove....we cook here! These are the Lasagna Casseroles that I made for dinner tonight. The 9x13's are made with regular pasta and the pie pan is made with spaghetti squash. This recipe was approved by the Crew and added to The List. Even Poppa enjoyed the bite he took! It's very flavorful and much quicker to make than traditional lasagna.

Lasagna Casserole

  • 1 lb ground beef, uncooked1 lb Italian sausage, hot or mild
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (16 ounce) packages pasta shells, cooked
  • 6 cups mozzarella cheese
    • 24 ounces cottage cheese
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons parsley
    • 2 quarts spaghetti sauce
      Cook beef and sausage with onion, salt and half of the pepper. Add spaghetti sauce.In bowl, combine 3 cups mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, beaten eggs, parmesan cheese, parsley, remaining pepper and cooked pasta. Divide pasta mixture into two greased 9x13's, top with meat sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot.

Baking Day

The Littles and I made Cranberry Bread! We read Cranberry Thanksgiving and we wanted to try Grandmother's secret bread recipe. There was measuring of flour and baking powder....

and zesting of the orange. Cutting in of butter....

and more. Later, after finishing the loaf, there was the washing of dishes....

Finally, after a long bake, there was delicious bread to eat!

We also made a dozen gluten free cupcakes so that Momma could enjoy some seasonal goodness, too. What great Lambies I have! I am so blessed to be able to spend each day with them.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Michael Pollan's 7 Food Rules

Photo from Paleo Food List.

How better to Love the Crew than to feed them well? I try to cook with these rules in mind. If you'd like to eat better than the SAD diet, you can pop over to my recipe blog for ideas, research the low-carb, slow carb, gluten-free, primal and paleo ways of eating, begin to serve two veggie sides with dinner rather than starches and visit your local farmer's market often!

Michael Pollan's 7 Food Rules
1.Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
2.Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store.
4. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot.
5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. Always leave the table a little hungry.
6. Enjoy meals with the people you love.
7. Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline or in the car.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Katie is out of the orphanage! Please join me is praising the Lord for Katie's release. Let's pray, also, for her health as they make their way halfway across the world. Pray for Katie to not be anxious, frightened or stressed; for her to tolerate her feedings well; for grace for her parents. Pray for wisdom for the doctors as she is admitted to the Children's Hospital when they arrive home. Remember, Katie is nine and a half years old. She is obviously very medically fragile. Let's flood the throne of the Lord with sweet prayers!


Fall Decorating

Fall decorating is really not my thing...but these lovelies were going to the trash if they were not taken after our homeschool Thanksgiving party today. I brought some home and set up a little 'Harvest Corner'. The kids think it's beautiful! Maybe I should do this more often.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our Most Recent Project

What's been keeping us busy lately?

My Honey has been busy updating our computer lab. The Lambies have had one computer to share for schoolwork and fun. However, Dad and Mom just got new computers, so they got the 'hand-me-downs". Three computers would not fit on the desk, though, so Poppa went to work.

He wasn't working all alone, though. He got all the help he wanted (and maybe more at times).

Now there are three computers for them to work and play on! See the laptop hiding on the far side of the shelf? It lives on the pull-out keyboard shelf.

I love that My Honey can just build whatever we need when we need it. He is SO talented! Thank you, Lord, for giving him to me!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Crew's Meals

I don't usually post these, but thought I might for a change. Do you appreciate others' meal plans or prefer to plan your own? This is from last week. I make a general plan for the week's meals, but leave it flexible as to which meal to serve which day, depending on how the days go. I also allow for changes based on clearance meats I might find throughout the week.


granola bars and smoothie
BBQ'd hamburgers and hotdogs


cereal or eggs
Mexican (my husband and I eat taco salad, kids usually have burritos)


eggs, any style
Crockpot Pork Loin Roast, home canned green beans, salad


Smoothie and oatmeal
leftover or sandwiches
Baked Chicken Thighs, sage rice, green salad and hard boiled eggs


sausage and eggs
leftover or sandwiches
Mexican (yeah, we do it often; it's super fast and easy!)


Hot Cereal
Bacon Chickpea Potpie (not a family favorite; we won't have this again)


cereal and/or eggs
chips and salsa
leftover Bacon Chickpea Potpie

Friday, November 4, 2011

Moosey's Birthday

Today Troubles declared that it was Moosey's birthday. Moosey is now six years old and it's high time for him to have a birthday party! Troubles made invitations with GirlofGod and invited all of his brothers and sisters, along with their favorite stuffed friends. They all brought gifts for Moosey. They sang "Happy Birthday" and cheered for him. Fun was had by all, as Troubles' imagination was fed by loving siblings.

Monday, October 31, 2011

2011 Costumes

Here are the Crew's Halloween costumes this year.

We had a great time trick or treating with a couple of friends and their children. They made quite a long line as they traipsed from door to door!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

This Is Not a Drill

Nor is this picture a set-up. Vic brought Ohren out of his bedroom very carefully so I could see him. He'd climbed into the Tech-Deck Bowl and fallen asleep with his teddy bear. I'm not sure how Ohren got the teddy into the bowl, but he does love it dearly and sleeps near it often.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jack's a Lego Maniac

Jack has been a Lego maniac again lately. This time, Polly and Troubles and he are separating all the Lego people out of the tubs and arranging them on base plates. I didn't know we had so many Lego dudes! Most were in pieces, so they were carefully rebuilt, with much attention paid to proper uniforms, expressions, attachments and accessories. Details matter to Jack.

Today Jack built a gym.

He created barbells, weight stacks, a bench press station, pull up bar and more. He is so creative! I can't imagine raising this boy without Lego.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Fall Gardening

The weather is cooling and so it's time to plant winter crops. I've not been all that happy with my western garden bed for winter growing because it gets little sun and so the green grow slowly. I've been planning a new bed for a couple of years and this was the year we did it! Isn't it beautiful?

Below is my older bed. I shoveled much of the dirt from this one into the new bed, since it will be more in use during the winter. At some point we will buy a truckful or two of topsoil and compost to fill it back up. For the winter, I have seeded it with carrots, lettuce and other greens and since I have the eastern garden now, I don't care how slowly they grow. These are just so I have plenty to share with friends and neighbors.

Here's a view of both beds, taken from the north side. The above pictures are from the south side.

I have planted roamine, butterleaf, salad bowl, Swiss Chard, carrots and spinach. I already have cute little sprouts peeking out from my first sowing! Every Monday or Tuesday I plant another couple of feet, so I should be able to have freshly mature greens all winter long.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Apple Days

It's finally apple season in our valley. My Honey took me up to the foothills and we got several boxes of Red and Yellow Delicious and some Bartlett pears, as well. So far I have 28 quarts made, but I'd like to get up to about 100 quarts. I have 2 boxes left to process. In other news, I am running out of places to store jars. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coconut Pancakes

I finally made something with my coconut flour. I made these pancakes and they were pretty good. Not all of the Lambies liked them as much as wheat flour pancakes, but I think they will grow to enjoy them. They are silver dollar sized and only 2 1/2 of them, spread with peanut butter and maple syrup, filled me all day. The recipe is from Home, Health and Happiness.

Coconut Flour Pancakes

8 eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 heavy pinch cinnamon, optional
2tablespoon honey
1/2 cup yogurt
Ghee, butter, or coconut oil for frying

Mix ingredients until smooth and let them sit for five minutes so the coconut flour can absorb the liquids. Put 1 teaspoon fat on griddle and melt over medium heat. When griddle is hot, pour 1 tablespoon of batter on for each pancake. Allow to cook until golden brown, 1-2 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding the teaspoon of fat each time or as needed to prevent sticking.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I've Failed...

Failed to keep up here, that is. I've been plenty busy, just haven't been taking pictures. I've built another garden bed, canned a lot, been to a few book sales, I've been babysitting my neighbor's kids more often...I'll try to get back in the groove of taking pics throughout the day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Making the Food Money Last

The Headmistress and the other Three Moms are blogging about food budgets this week. Even though HM mentioned most of my favorite ideas, I thought I'd share some tips anyway.

I blogged about the discovery of my favorite tip of all here. Go to farmer's market at the very end and offer to buy the perishables that will not make it to the next market day. You can often get lots of goodies. Be prepared to fix, freeze, can, share or otherwise prepare your bounty THAT day. Ripe food turns fast. I also ask different vendors for canning specials. Often they have bins of blemished fruit that they will sell inexpensively.

Learn to can! It is not inexpensive to begin, by any means, but Craig's List, garage sales and word of mouth can get you jars for little to nothing. Ask for canning supplies for your birthday, anniversary or Christmas presents. For water bath canning, all that's needed is a large pot and the basic canning tools. A pressure canner is more expensive, but priceless for making meals in a jar that will save many dollars when you need a dinner and you need it fast. I like my harvest yellow Presto canner. The new ones that you can get are flimsy and won't stand the test of time.

Put out the word that you will pick fruit trees. I have a list of folks whose trees I pick yearly. We get the surplus fruit to eat, can or bake with, they get a clean yard and don't have to watch the fruit moldering. I take canned goods to them as a thank you.

Buy meat that is marked down at the grocery store. I would love to buy organic, but I simply can't afford it. I watch for 25% and 50% off stickers and buy up as much as I can. Most goes into the freezer, some is eaten for dinner that night or the next and some shared with others. Use whole chickens rather than parts. Make your own broth. Use the bones from the meat you buy for beef stock. Collect vegetable trimmings in a freezer bag and use that for stock making rather than fresh produce.

Buy very little packaged "food". Meat, eggs, veggies, fruit. This is all we need to be healthy.

Grow a garden. It doesn't have to be more than some buckets alongside the garage. Lettuce is very easy to grow and will grow all year round in many places. Tomatoes grow like weeds in the summer. One zucchini plant supplies my entire family for most of the summer.

Make condiments from scratch. You can save SO much money, they taste ever-so-much better and have no mystery ingredients. I have many recipes here and here.

Cook your meals from scratch. Make the ingredients for your from scratch meals from scratch! For example, prepare dried beans rather than using canned (unless you canned them yourself), chop veggies rather than using frozen, cut stew meat out of an inexpensive roast rather than buying it pre-cut. You can think of many other purchased boxes and cans you can eliminate by making basic ingredients yourself.

Have a crockpot of beans prepared at all times to feed your hollow-legged teenagers. This has saved me tons of food dollars as my boys go through growing spurts.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Harvest Time!

The Farmer's Market surplus harvest season has begun! Two weeks in a row now, I have been able to get large flats of green beans and peaches. I now have my goal for the year (as far as green beans go) met! I finished 21 quarts last week and 28 this week. With what I had canned earlier from my picking at a friend's garden, I am over 52 quarts. I made 20 pints of Vanilla Peach Blueberry Jam on Sunday. I have just about all the different peach jams I had hoped to make done. The freezer has many gallon bags filled with sliced fruit for smoothies, too.

On the canning docket for the rest of the week: making chicken broth with the carcass of the chicken we got Saturday, canning the Peach Honey that finished cooking today, making Chili con Carne with my friend M. who wants to learn how to pressure can, Mock Pineapple and maybe some Banberry Jam. I have to convert this recipe to Pomona pectin before I make it. I love these cooler days when canning is a pleasure!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Farm Fresh Poultry (with bonuses)!

I found a source for local poultry for a reasonable price recently. I am very excited about it, as we eat a lot of chicken and I want to feed my family the cleanest meat I can.

Today was my pickup day. When I went to the farmer's market this morning, my poultry guy said that he had picked out two special chickens for me, but the killing team wasn't quite to them when he had to leave. He made arrangements to pick them up and bring the to me in the afternoon. WOW! Clean meat and superb customer service!

When we met up later, he handed me my bag and said that since I had asked for feet to be included, he had told that to the killing team. They packed a few extra in my bag since so few ask for them. I love to add them to my broth for extra flavor and gelatin. When I got the bags home and began putting things away, I found a surprise. If dead chicken offends you, stop reading here, for beyond is photographic evidence of my fortune.

They included the heads, too!

There were actually 10 feet, already cleaned, and 10 heads, also clean, along with all the internal organs except the intestines. I am very pleased. The livers were large, beautifully colored and healthy. The hearts were bright and ready for dissection. My anatomy students are well-pleased to have a bonus project for Monday.

I did a chicken anatomy lesson on-the-fly, since we had a neighbor child over who had never seen the feet and heads, let alone the insides of a real chicken. He didn't want to touch anything, but he did listen intently. I also pulled a tendon in the feet to make the toes move. We just learned about tendons on Thursday, so that was very timely. It also brought to mind a story.

I wonder if he will tell his parents about what he saw at Mrs. Mommaofmany's house today? hehehe

I also have to share this hilarious photobomb that I caught. Jack makes the best faces. He often makes us laugh at his accidental expressions in pictures. This one was far from accidental, but too funny!

Chicken Stock

4 pounds chicken pieces, including necks and backs

2 or more chicken feet, if desired (they REALLY improve the flavor and nutrition of the broth)

1 large onion, quartered

4 carrots, washed and chunked

4 ribs celery, cut in half

1 leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise

10 sprigs fresh thyme

10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems

2 bay leaves

8-10 peppercorns

2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 gallons cold water

Place cool water, chicken (and feet), veggies, spices and vinegar in a 12 quart stockpot. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Cook on high until just boiling, then turn the heat down to medium. Skim the scum occasionally. Add hot water, if needed, to keep the bones and veggies submerged. Simmer, covered for 6-8 hours or up to 24 hours. (If simmering overnight, turn heat to very low and keep tightly covered.)

Strain stock through a colander or strainer into another large pot. Discard the bones and veggie scraps, but save the chicken meat. Put stockpot in sinkful of ice to cool quickly, then refrigerate overnight. Remove solidified fat from stock if desired. Keeps in fridge a week or more, or freeze for 3 months.

When refrigerated, the stock should be solid from all the gelatin.

You can also make this in a crockpot. Let cook on low for up to 24 hours.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I got FOUR Paperback Swap wishlist books in the mail today!

The Voyage of the Armada by David Howorth will be used by my jr/sr highers when we study this period. I know almost nothing about the story, so I will likely read it before assigning it so I can hear narrations with an informed ear.

Prisoners of the Scrambling Dragon is by F. N. Monjo. I've liked everything I've read from him! We have most, if not all, of his "I Can Read" selections. This one is ninty-two pages so it definitely doesn't fit in the early reader genre.

The Story of Little Babaji is a remake of "Little Black Sambo" by Helen Bannerman. It's illustrated by Fred Marcellino. I have a beautifully illustrated, non-offensive copy of Little Black Sambo by Watty Piper and illustrated by Eulalie. However, I have wanted to add Marcellino's version to our library for a long time. I'm glad it finally came in!

My final prize is Washington's Birthday by Clyde Robert Bulla. I have many of his books, but he wrote over 60 so I am far from having a complete collection. This one, unknown to me, was autographed! I took three pics but could not get a clear one. Sorry for the blur.

It says: "For Kathy Knight, All good wishes, Clyde Robert Bulla" and is dated "April 25, 1983".

After opening all of these, I happened to check my e-mail and found yet another Wish List offer from PBS. "Captain Kidd's Cat" by Robert Lawson has finally been listed. I snagged it and now have no more credits. Click one of the PBS links, join, and post ten books you are willing to share. When you do I get a credit and can order another book. HURRY! Who knows which of my 192 wished-for books will be posted next!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

My daughters made Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies to take to church. Half are covered with powdered sugar, the other half have raspberry jam. :sigh: They look heavenly. Sadly, another daughter got ill just before we would have been leaving, so they will be be staying with us. I am trying to be gluten free, so I will not be indulging. Do you want to taste a bite? You can make your own; they are quick and easy!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chocloate Taffy

EmBlem, GirlofGod and Trixie are going to a swim party tomorrow. They wanted to bring something special to share so they were browsing recipes and kicking around some ideas this afternoon. They decided to make Chocolate Taffy. It was messy, it was fun, it's also pretty tasty! I love the skills they are developing in the kitchen.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Picture Postcard Pretty

This is my favorite picture from our 2011 camping trip. I want to cross-stitch it and hang it over my fireplace! I also want to build a cabin right here and retire. See you next year, Hidden Falls!