Thursday, January 31, 2013

homeschoolers extraordinaire!

Remember back to our first day of homeschool this year?

From that very day forward, my goal was simply, to make PROGRESS
with my little dude.
And I gotta tell ya, progress we have made!!!
He is actually starting to READ now.
Hot-diggity!

I am successfully teaching yet another human being to READ!!

Progress, indeed!



And not only that,
here's a pictorial of our day today.

Just an average day here at our homestead homeschool.












video




So sad that my little homeschoolers are so sheltered and boxed into
a classroom without any real-life experience.


Homeschoolers extraordinaire!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

not your average taco!

Well, I sure did have high hopes of a detailed post about
one of my very favorite Mexican dishes,
Tacos al Pastor.

Ole'!

But...dinnertime was completely crazy last night and I didn't take
any pics, except for the final product.


I'll try to post details in the future, but for now...here ya go,
Tacos al Pastor:


Here's what they consists of:

Warm corn tortillas
Smoked seasoned pork loin, shredded
Guacamole sauce (basically a more liquid version of regular guacamole)
Pineapple
Cilantro (the more the better!)
Salsa
Diced onions
Fresh lime wedge squeezed over it all!

And that's ALL.
No cheese, no lettuce.
This is no traditional American taco, amigos!

They may not look like much,
but I tell you what, they are SO fresh and tasty.



Monday, January 28, 2013

nice day!


Hey, everyone!

We are  just chillin' & relaxin' here on the homestead.


It got up to a sultry 74 degrees today!
In January!
Have you ever?
What a lovely treat-of-a-day God gave us here in the midwest!

The rest of the week's forecast calls for rain, cold and possibly snow.
Yahoo!!
I LOVE eclectic weather!


Here's a couple things going on:

1.  I made Rice Krispy Treats today for the first time in a VERY long time.
GEEEEE, why does anyone ever BUY these little gems?
They are beyond easy and FAST.

2.  I finally faced reality today and decided that we need to cull some
of our old hens (aka, chicken soup) because they aren't laying any more.
Hate that.
So sorry, henny-hens.

3.  I am making Tacos Al Pastor for dinner tonight.
I'll post more about THAT later.
Unless they don't turn out.
In which case, we'll never speak of this again.

4.  I need to get busy on planning for my pigs.
I am so totally getting pigs this spring.
And honey bees.
I'm pretty sure.

5.  I found a super-old Singer sowing machine inside a darling cabinet
at a thrift shop yesterday.
But it was a hundred bucks.
Ahhhhh.
I can't stop thinking about it.
Hoping I can pop back in there in a few days and see that
it's been drastically reduced.
Please, oh please!!!

That's all for now.

Gotta get started on my dinner!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

connie's auction!

Hey, friends!

You really should head over to my friend Connie's blog
because she's got an auction going on to raise money for their
newest little-tiny treasure!

She's got LOTS and LOTS of things for sale that are so cool!!


Friday, January 25, 2013

11 random things

1.  I am growing my hair out.  And I really mean it this time.  But if it's not Farrah Faucet gorgeous in a month, I'm changing the plan, man.

2.  I have discovered Olive Tapenade.  Its salty goodness is amazing to me.  But oddly, I don't even like olives.  Or so I thought...

3.  I have a bathroom-cleaning accountability partner.  Her name is Angela.  We strictly hold each other accountable to clean our bathrooms EVERY week.  (Some of you are rolling your eyes in wonder that this is necessary.  Loosen up, people.)  Though Angela has had sick kiddos a lot lately so I've had to extend a lot of grace to her.  But if she goes two weeks without cleaning one more time, I'm cracking the whip.

4.  My beloved 10-year-old CHI flat iron broke yesterday.  It just completely cracked in half.  In HALF! I held a ceremony in its honor, then cried my eyes out.  Thankfully my mother-in-law gave me another one recently that is practically brand new...it's no CHI, but I'm grateful to have it until I can afford another fancy-shmancy one!

5.  I like Michael, but miss Regis terribly.

6.  My kitchen still smells like chicken fried steak from LAST NIGHT because the pan of grease is still sitting on my stove.  Used grease leaves me really confused.  I usually just dump it in our woods somewhere.  Don't tell Al Gore.  Although maybe it's perfectly fine.  I really don't know.  Hence, the confusion.

7.  For the first time ever, in almost 20 years of being a mother, my laundry bucket was completely empty.  It only lasted around 12 minutes, but I'd say that's pretty darn good by any mom-of-six's standards.  Amen?

Clearly this is after the 12 minute threshold.


8.  I made blueberry muffins today that look almost nuclear with color.  I think the world has forgotten what incredible beauty God has given us in REAL foods.  Store-bought muffins (with who-knows-what for "blueberries") look so well-behaved.  NOT MINE, no sir!!




9.  In high school, I was the vice-president of Future Homemakers of America.  I think I've mentioned that in passing before, but thought I'd say it again.  It prepared me well for my tasks-at-hand NOW!  Yesssss.  Do they even have FHA anymore?  I doubt it.  How old-fashioned and politically incorrect!!   Phhhht.

10.  As for this American homemaker, I am making sandwiches for dinner tonight.  And store-bought onion rings.  I hold the right to reserve my homemaking skills for if/when I want to use them, as you can see.

11.  Here is what I came home to the other day:

Nick had strategically placed my fresh-picked eggs on mini chocolate chips.


Enjoy your weekend, people!!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

blogger cookbook

Hey, guys!

There is a family I know of who is doing a fundraiser
by selling cookbooks,
which contain a collection of recipes from bloggers!
And guess what? A few of my recipes are included.  Hooray!
How fun, right?!

They are adopting two kiddos from China, one of which needs urgent
care because she has cancer.
:(
So PLEASE hurry on over to their site to help out by buying one of
their cookbooks, okay?


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

homeschool








Hello, friendly friends!


Getting back into the swing of homeschooling-things since Christmas
has been a struggle.
We nearly fell to pieces last week.
There was crying.
Weeping.
Whining and thrashing-about.
And the kids were out of sorts, too.

But this week I put on my strict-old-schoolmarm hat and
got serious.
We mixed up the routine a bit and it worked fairly well.

And after feeling convinced a week ago that I would send these darlings
off to boarding school next year,
I do think we may stick this homeschooling thing out for another year.
Hooray!!

But we'll see.




So now I'm in the mood to start planning and figuring out
what curriculum (or hodge-podge thereof) we'll use.

And I'd love YOUR help!
Well, those of you with proven expertise, that is.


Right now we're having great success with A Beka.
That's probably what I'll use for Isaiah, since I already own a lot of
what I need for him.

But for Lucy, I'm thinking of throwing in something different,
at least for a subject or two.

She's a worksheet-kind-of-girl...but I think something on the computer,
or completely outside the box (whatever that would be),
might be fun for her.

She'll be in third grade.

Tell me your thoughts!




Sunday, January 20, 2013

mini-cinnis!




Okay.
This is one yummy cinnamon roll recipe, friends.
And we're doing them up, mini-style!
But I am WAY tired as I'm posting this...so let's hope the enthusiasm that it deserves comes across clearly.



First off,
take one packet (or 2 1/2 teaspoons of dry active years, instant),
and put it into 1+ cup lukewarm water.
WITH 3 tablespoons of sugar (or honey!).


Let it "proof",
which totally isn't necessary for instant yeast...but I do it every single time anyway.
I just love to see my yeast/sugar poofy.
It helps me KNOW that everything will be okay to the end.

Add 6 tablespoons of room-temp unsalted butter.

Mix 3 cups high-quality all-purpose flour (or throw some whole wheat flour into the mix!),

1 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup dry milk, 1/2 cup potato flakes.

Throw all that into your mixer!
And knead away.
(Of course, you can knead it all by hand or in a bread machine.)



Then put it in a greased bowl/container.
(I use these handy-dandy tubs from Sam's ALL the time.  They are perfect for rising dough.)

Let it rise for about 1 hour, until doubled.

Then put it on a well-floured surface.
And fondle it a bit.
Believe me, you won't be able to resist.
It's soooo soft.
(I have such old-lady hands!  Hard-working hands, they are.)


Divide in half.

Roll it out into a long, narrow rectangle.
(Remember, we're making MINI rolls....so we need to keep it narrow.)

Brush with milk.
(This keeps all your innards from oozing out.)


Mix up,
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2+ teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons flour

Sprinkle half the filling mixture on your rolled dough.

Roll that sucker up into a neat and tidy roll.


Then cut into 20 little tiny slices,
and place in a greased mini-muffin pan.


Cover loosely with plastic wrap & a towel...and let rise for about 30-45 minutes.



Then bake for about 13 minutes at 375 degrees.
But watch closely!
They tend to bake quickly...you want them slightly browned.




Top with delicious vanilla glaze!





Here's the recap:
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

Dough:
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 cup warm water (use more if necessary)
3 cups all-purpose flour (use whole-grain flour as part of it!)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room-temp
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dry milk
1/2 cup potato flakes 

Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. flour
milk to brush on dough

Glaze:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4-5 tablespoons heavy cream (or milk)


I packaged it all up to sell at the coffee bar at church.
They were a hit!


Enjoy, ya'll!!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

recipes and puppet show!

Here's what happened on our homestead today:

1.  I made chocolate chip banana nut bread.
(Not pictured, sorry.)

2.  I made chocolate chip pecan scones.
(Pictured below.)

 This was an experimental batch...so I wasn't going for pretty.
I just wanted to see how they tasted.
My OH my.
REALLY super delicious.
Ding, ding, ding!  We have a winner!!


Lori's Chocolate Chip Pecan Scones

2 1/4 Cup All-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-grain flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup half & half

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Cut-in butter with pastry cutter (or food precessor) until butter
is in slightly small pieces.  Add chocolate chips and pecans.
In separate bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla, and half & half.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix, just until combined.
Put dough onto floured parchment paper.
Separate into two balls, roll into 6" circles.
Put in freezer for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Remove circles from freezer, cut into wedges & separate just a bit.
Brush with milk.
Bake for around 16 minutes.

Put on the coffee cause, it's SCONE TIME!


****

3.  I highlighted and cut my mom's hair.

4.  I talked to my friend Angela for 47 minutes on the phone.
(It made me so happy!)

5.  I decided to go with an Asian theme for dinner.

So, I whipped up some Crab Rangoon for a side dish.


Crab Rangoon

 1 package cream cheese
1 can of drained crab meat
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chopped chives (optional)

Mix everything then add to wonton wrappers (one teaspoon each.)
Seal sides tightly with water.

They were so super easy to assemble!



They were sooooo delicious, but I'll tell ya, they were an awful mess to fry.
All heck broke loose, literally.
Well, most of them held together fine.
They are worth making, for sure.
About once every 2 1/2 months or so...and not a minute sooner.



And if all that wasn't enough,
I gave Lucy the idea that she could make some puppets with some of
the contents in her craft box.

Then I gave her the idea that she could make a puppet-show "stage"
out of a piece of poster-board we had stashed in a closet.

Then she put K-Man to work to create her "stage" because I gave up on it hours before.
And because Lucy's wish is ALWAYS his demand,
he did it for her right away.





And a puppet show ensued!







Super fun stuff.
Super fun day!!!


I'm so very, very tired.


Good-bye.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

erma bombeck [fried chicken and noodles]

I have been in SUCH a blogging funk, you guys.
More than a dozen times, I've wadded up this blog and thrown it in the trash.

I guess Erma Bombeck would have called it writer's block.
I loved Erma.
Oh my word, she was the best ever.
(Please don't tell me you don't know who I'm talking about.)


Anyway, lest I forfeit all I've fought for for this site (wait, what?),
I press on.

So, you'll pardon me graciously if this is an absolutely NOTHING post,
with nary a nugget of helpfulness, alrighty?



On Saturday I received a big fat cook book that I ordered.
All whole-grains.
All of the time.
Or something along those lines.
I was so stoked for about 17 minutes,
then I wanted to curl up in the corner of my hen house.
And run to Walmart for a loaf of white bread.

But as my OCD personality dictates, I WILL master the recipes in this massive book.
I will.
Eventually.

Moving on.

Last night I made fried chicken strips for dinner and nearly died.
Why do I do this to myself?
I do not know.

But just look at this incredible goodness.
THAT'S why I do it.

Though the mess, I could do without.
But my new handy-dandy fryer made it amazingly easier.
And delicious-er.

And THEN, I froze a gob of the leftovers.
Happy Day!!
Fried chicken strips make THE best sandwiches, wraps, salads, whatever!
So now, in retrospect, I am very happy I fried chicken last night.
Mmmmmm.

And for tonight's dinner,
I am making made-from-scratch chicken noodle soup.
With homemade noodles, of course.
(Guys, it's SO easy, really.)



And just like that, that's all I have for you today, people.
I'm tired.


I'm going back into my funk now, okay?



Enjoy your evening immensely!!
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