Friday, September 21, 2012

Noah Turns 7

Today is Noah's 7th birthday! My sweet precocious child with a heart that is bigger than he is; he has been a joy to watch as he grows and changes into a wonderful young man. He has a love and zest for life that I love to see. He is rough and tumble and sometimes goes overboard, but has a sensitivity that is uncommon. He can and will go out of his way to make sure that people around him are happy and smiling, is a great hugger and loves to make sure you know you are loved.
He loves nature, animals, his friends around him, and is always wanting to do something to make things better for everyone around him. He spends time with his brother and sister reading them books and playing games. Loves building and creating things; his skills with Lego and building with other blocks is amazing. He will spend hours(days) working space ships, bases, and towers that are equipped with trap doors, lookout holes, armories, bedrooms, booby traps, escape hatches, movable walls, and the list just goes on.
He is adventurous and sometimes a little too fearless. He loves being a Cub Scout and all that comes with it. He doesn't always like to do what he is told, and can be very defiant; but when you give him a task or a job to do he works hard and always puts in his best effort to make sure that it is done well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

German Potato Salad

I am not sure if it is a change in the weather, the fact that October is just around the corner, or some of those pregnancy hormones  are kicking in and making me crave things, but I have been wanting this for about two weeks now. It was one of my favorites as a child and still is. So tonight Matt is grilling pork chops and I am making German Potato Salad and sauteed cabbage with onions and bacon.

German Potato Salad
  • 6-8 medium red potatoes, scrubbed
  • 3 slices of Thick cut bacon, cooked and diced
  • ½c apple cider vinegar
  • ½c - 1c water
  • 3½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼-1/2tsp black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced (optional)
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water until potatoes are completely covered by 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and cook until mostly tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. I try not to cook them too long because if they are not too soft they are easier to cut. 
  2. Drain and allow to cool before peeling and slicing into ¼” thick slices. I don't bother peeling potatoes.
  3. In a pot, saute onions in some of the bacon drippings. Cook until translucent and add potatoes cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Here is where I cook mine a little different: measure sugar and stir into water until it is melted. Add to pot along with vinegar and bacon.  Stir it all up well  and let it cook until the potatoes are as tender as you would like it and the "dressing" has cooked down and thickened into a sauce; about 10 minutes. I like doing this instead of making the dressing separate and tossing it into the potatoes, because the potatoes have time to absorb the flavors and the dressing thickens with the potato starch instead of adding flour, starch or other thickeners.
  5. Serve warm. 
Note: The water is listed as 1/2 to 1 cup of water. If while cooking the potatoes look dry add a little water as needed. Also, if you like your dressing sweeter or tangier, adjust with the vinegar and sugar, just add a little of each until you get it the way you like.

It is an easy recipe that I wish I would remember to use more often.
If you try it out let me know what you think. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Catching up

The younger kids learning about
mixing colors to make new colors.
Looks like it's has been a while since our last post. We had a nice and busy summer. The kids are now back in school. Nathan is entering his first year of Middle School this year. Noah is beginning Second grade. Jacob is beginning Kindergarten, and Evelyn is hanging out, practicing her language and communication skills and just being cute in general. 
Evelyn helping to adjust
  Nathan's neck slide. 

Scouting is now back in full swing, meetings, projects, belt loops, badges, selling popcorn, outings. Nathan is in Boy Scouts, but he is also helping out as Den Chief for Noah's Cub Scout group.

Some of the new baby chicks
New additions since the summer time. We now have some ducks, and this week we got another order of chickens; we normally wait until the spring, but since we are expecting another baby we figured that having our peepers in the fall would be a better idea. This batch of chickens also includes several extra roosters that we will be using as meat birds. 

Plans are in the works for a new and bigger chicken coop. One thing that I really want to figure out is how to split the run(hopefully expanded a bit bigger) so that we can keep grass or other types of green things growing on it, mostly because I do not like the mud pit that the girls have created it is very messy when it rains. Also, because I really want the girls to be happy when they are not able to free range; grass, seeds, yummy bugs = happy and cleaner chickens. The extra roosters are going to need a shelter too, we just haven't completely figured that one out yet. The ducklings are hanging out with the chickens in the run, but they could stand to be a little less messy too, I guess we will have to put them in etiquette classes. 
Our duck so full of cuteness.

The garden didn't go over too well this year. We got a few tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, a couple of watermelons, lots of kale, spinach, and swiss chard. The rest failed because of the heat, and our visiting deer.  She must have been desperate this year, besides eating the pepper plants, tomatoes, tomato plants, purple hull peas, and snap beans, it also ate my okra and the okra plants. We will keep trying, hopefully next year will be better. 

Canning was minimal this year. We were able to put up some tomatoes, blackberry jelly, and jalapenos(pickled pepper jelly, and cowboy candy). Dehydrating started out well and slowly stopped over the summer, but we did get strawberries, peaches, cherry tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, and some fruit leather. We are getting closer to true pantry storage, it has quite a learning curve to change your lifestyle.
Liquid Soap during the cooking stage

Soap is back into production...slow, but steady. We have several new batches curing, and new batches of liquid soap has been made and is now sitting ready to be bottled and scented. We have also started making Bath Salts to go with the soaps, I am looking forward to making coordinating products that could be packaged together for gift bags, baskets and packages. I think my next trial will be solid lotion bars; hoping to have these ready for Christmas stocking stuffers.
New batch of Patchouli Lavender

Well That's all on the home front for now...What have you been doing now that fall is approaching?