Wednesday, February 1, 2017

For the Love of Birds

It is no denying that around here, we LOVE our song-birds. We put out feeders, make our own feeders, and have a special place set up just so we can watch the birds come around. Lately, in the earlier and cooler hours of the day, we have been spotting so many different birds that we set up a camera in our kitchen on a tri-pod so we could snap some of the beautiful feathered friends who are coming our way. 
The Eastern Blue Bird is always one of our favorites. The bright blue backs and the red/brown breast. They are such a pretty little bird.
This guy here, what I believe to be a Hairy Woodpecker (someone correct me if I am wrong) has been hanging around a LOT since we made our own feeder. He LOVES it! And I'm so glad that we have it out, because I sure do like seeing him around. He's just beautiful!





Sweet little Chickadee with his pretty black head. 


The camera is set up for anyone walking by to snap a picture if they see a good shot. Even though this picture is a little on the blurry side, Carlie spotted our first Purple Finch! I was tickled pink when we were scrolling through the pictures and saw him! 
A Morning Dove perched in one of the bare branches.

A favorite as always is the Cardinal. We have plenty of both male and female cardinals around here. Love seeing that vibrant red color!
Our little friend the Tufted Titmouse. His cute little "peter-peter" let's us know he's come to visit. 
Do you like to bird-watch? Do you have a life list of birds you would like to see? 

One big bird on our family life-list is to spot a bald eagle. One day we hope we will. I don't imagine one will make it to our little feeding station, but one day we hope to see one in the wild! They are really incredible! 




Friday, January 27, 2017

Bread Baking

We've been getting back in the habit of really making our dollars stretch. It's so easy to slip out of the habit and get loosey-goosey and frivolous... a few dollars spent here and there for junk. Anyhow, we have made a commitment to get back to basics and that means, following our budget like we should, making things from scratch, being prepared, staying home more, using things up to their fullest potential, and not buying if we don't have to. 
One great way to save is bread. I have some bubbly sour dough starter coming from a friend, but until then I found a recipe from The Prudent Homemaker for a batch of 4 loaves of bread that she says equals out to about a quarter a loaf!!! Sure beats $2.50+ per loaf at the grocery store. 
One thing Shannon and I have realized is that we have shown our kids a lot of things, but it's like we have 2 sets of kids... What Cameo and Eli may remember us showing them, Carlie and Abram may not remember... since they are younger. 
So I am doing my best to remedy that and make sure that we teach our second batch as well as we have taught our first. 
So I took the bread recipe with the younger two, plus our little sweetie that stays with us during the day and we got to making our quadruple batch of bread.

We talked about how to measure the flour loosely so that it's not too compact. We watched the yeast activate. We kneaded. We let the dough rise. We shaped it. And we baked it. 

Every bit. Every step... all together. And when we were done, we tasted our finished loaves. 
Yum, yum!
Success... All the way around! 
And at .25 per loaf (or close) then that just makes it all the more wonderful! 


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Make a Bird-Feeder Wreath

I came across some recipes for making your own bird feeders and since bird-watching is one of our hobbies around here, as well as something we do for school, the kids and I made one for our bird watching station. 
It's very simple.

All you need is 
Gelatin
Corn syrup
Flour
Water
Birdseed


We used 5 tsp gelatin mixed together with 1 cup of very warm water. 
We then added 1.5 cup flour
6 Tbsp corn syrup

8 cups of birdseed
Mix all thoroughly!

Spray a bundt pan liberally with non-stick spray.
Press your mixture into the form and let dry for 24 hours or more.
If your pan doesn't want to release right away, you can soak the bottom side in some VERY warm water for a few minutes. It helped to loosed our wreath up enough to let go easily. 
Take some yarn, twine, jute, ribbon or whatever suits your fancy and tie it into your favorite tree. 
Enjoy!!!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This and That

I have all these things that I keep meaning to post here, and every day I think,

 "I'll post before bed" 

and at bedtime I think,

"I'll get up and post early."

 And sigh... you see that it is a while before I post. 
Life is full. That's for sure. 

We have been busy with homeschool lessons resuming again after the long holiday break. It's so nice to have a break, but it's so nice to be on a schedule again. I love schedules, and lists, and all kinds of nerdy stuff like that. 
We received the game above for Christmas from some friends of ours. Oh, what fun!!! I love a good game and this is a dandy. It's right up there with Blockus, Sequence, and Settlers of Catan in my favorite board game type games. It's called Qwirkle. Easy to get started, a little challenging, and it makes you think! I love that. 

We got a teeny bit of snow last weekend, that's always a treat around here. Anytime you hear that word there is always a rush of people making sure the roads are safe, that they can get to the grocery store before they go home, and the news channel is always current with the latest radar so we can know if we need one gallon of milk or if we need 2... and how many loaves of bread too. 
It's seriously funny, but I love it. I love our little area and it's funny ways. It doesn't matter to us if there is snow on the way or not, I get milk 5 gallons at a time. hahah. So unless it's the day we go get milk, we should manage ok. ;) 


One thing I did do for the wintry weather weekend was make up a triple batch of chai tea. It's so nice to sip on and enjoy occasionally. The recipe is here. 
Like I said, we are back underway with our lessons, and with that, we have a new little learner with us. He is so funny and he can't stand it if all the kids are at the school table working and he is not up there too. So while I'm reading to them or we are discussing our next assignment, he has to have his "work". Two pencils... mind you, because one is simply NOT enough. ;) 
We love our bird watching around here, but look at this cutie-patootie! A chunky little grey squirrel was right outside my boys window having him a little snack. They sat there and watched him for a while and he didn't seem to mind. 
Have I ever told y'all about what we do after our first day of eating a pot of chili? Of course the first day we eat it 'as is' with some crackers or cheese toast or what not, but on the second day we turn it into "Chili 3-way" I think it may also be called "Cincinnati Chili"
We saw it a long time back at Steak and Shake. 
It's spaghetti noodles, ketchup (I know it sounds gross, but really it adds just what is needed), chili and then parmesan cheese. You can add stuff on top of that if you want it, like onions, or jalepenos, etc... I like onions! 
It's one of my sons favorite meals. He and Shannon made chili this weekend and he has eaten chili 3-way daily til the chili was gone! 

See that little stainless steel coffee mug? I won that in a 'dirty santa' game over Christmas break. I LOVE that little thing. LOVE it. It's the perfect size and it keeps my coffee hot because I am a sipper... I like to enjoy and savor and not gulp and I can drink it down to the last drop because it stays HOT. Best dirty santa present I ever got! WOOT!

Like I said, not much of a theme to todays post... just a little 'this and that' but I've enjoyed our little chat and hope to do it again soon. 
I have a bird-feeder project I hope to share with you in the next day or so, it's a lot of fun. 
Have a wonderful day friends! 


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Carlie's Pimento Cheese

Carlie Jean loves pimento cheese... not the kind you buy in a tub at the grocery store, but homemade, yummy, creamy pimento cheese. I am one that didn't want to eat the orange stuff from the store either, it was far from appealing to me. Now that we make our own though, it is a different story.
We made some together for a Christmas get-together, here's how we made our version.

4-5 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 block of cream cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 jar of pimentos
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder

Mix vigorously in your mixer, but I also was thinking that it would be a good thought to use the food processor too. That might give it a smoother texture if you like that. We kinda like it this way. 
Grab some slices of good bread, or some crackers, some veggie sticks, or a pita and have a yummy lunch or snack! 

Blessings!