Friday, April 30, 2010

Mmm, Murphy Oil Soap

Hello and welcome to my veteran readers and to new friends from New Friend Friday.

I think we all probably have a few products that just make us happy.  One of mine is Murphy Oil Soap Original Formula.  I heart this stuff big time.  To start with, it smells just like heaven, I'm sure of it.  That lemon-y scent that reminds me of childhood wall washing and cleaning of church pews in a good, warm fuzzy type of way.  And, I like that it's so gentle and naturally derived.  I don't worry too much about using it to mop the floors my sweet babies crawl on.  And sometimes eat off of.  They're sneaky little babies like that.

I actually love it so much that I always have an extra bottle on hand.  I need to break down and start buying the huge jugs of it. Murphy's, as I like to call it, is a very versatile cleaner.  A dollop of it in hot water is great for washing walls and cabinets, as well as mopping.  I don't measure it like they suggest, heck I rarely measure when I cook anymore I'm not measuring cleaner.  I also use it with hot water to periodically degunk our dining room furniture, that poor stuff gets mighty sticky.  Apparently, you can use it on laundry stains and cars, too, but I've never tried that.

Obviously, the Murphy people have no idea who I am and are not sponsoring this post in any way, I just felt the need to share the love with you awesome readers.  If any of you Murphy people are reading, though...ahem...maybe we can work something out. ;)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Itty Bitty, Teensy Weensy Calf

As I look out my window at yet another %$#$*@ lovely snow storm I thought I would try to think about warmer days.  Like last week, when the kids and I took a little field trip to visit a teeny tiny calf.  Calves always seem little when they're standing next to cows, but they're bigger and heavier than they look. This little baby was born a bit early, though, and made my 26 and 36 lb kids look like giants.

Isn't she cute?

I have a love/hate relationship with calving season.  It means my husband is gone more and we have less family time.  But, it puts beef on our table (and yours!) and is a sure sign that summer will be here soon.  And signs like that are more than welcome when it's snowing in April and May.  :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Won!

A blog award!

So, Katie from On the Banks of Squaw Creek nominated me for an award. I am sooo flattered! I googled the Sunshine Award(because that's how I am ;)) and it's an award to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging world. Awww, sweet! 

I really enjoy Katie's blog.  She lives in an old, old farmhouse, like me.  Her family raises livestock, like us.  And, she's way guessed me :)!  Her wooden puzzle storage idea is BRILLIANT!  And I will be copying it soon, thankyouverymuch!  They raise turkeys and I find the process very interesting.  She has lots of great content and a lot of fun decorating and renovation posts.  And, she does Turkey Tuesday posts with recipes and mouthwatering pics.  Check her out! 

The rules that accompany the Sunshine Award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog within your post.
2. Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they have received the award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you have received this award.

And, my nominees.  Drumroll, please......

C Mom Cook
Mama Smiles
The Crafty Cupboard
A Few of My Favorite Things
Random Thoughts of a Supermom
My Backyard Eden
Home Sweet Home
The Girl Creative
Sugar Bee - Craft Edition
{jessica leigh}
craft eNVy
I would like to go through each blog and tell you what I love about them, but I'm running out of time today and really want to get this posted.  Check them out and I bet you'll love them as much as I do, they are some very talented and amazing women.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When life gives you lemons...

make lemonade!  And, when life gives you snow(in April) make snow ice cream!

We've had some snowy days - see why I have to start seeds inside?! - and enough snow stuck last night that there was a decent layer of clean, fresh snow this morning.  My munchkins have been sneaking outside all morning to get snow to eat, the little stinkers, so I decided to have them make snow ice cream.

First, they gathered snow in the sand box buckets they got from Grandma and Grandpa for Easter.  Yes, my boy is in his jammies and they don't have coats on.  It was warm, I promise!

They dumped the snow into a large bowl.

I poured a can of sweetened condensed milk over the snow.

And they stirred and stirred, then I stirred a bit.

Until it was a homogenous mixture.

Then they ate a bunch of it and I put some in the freezer.

I think it may not be so delicious, it seemed like an awful lot of snow for that little bit of milk and sugar, but they seemed to like it fine.  I couldn't taste it because it upsets Baby T's tummy when I eat dairy, so I'll ask their Daddy for a verdict when he gets home.  No matter what, it was a fun and quick little project for them this morning.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Second nursery rhyme title in a row.  I must read children's books all the time or something. :)

The older kids and I started some seeds for our garden a couple weeks ago.  We're in USDA hardiness zone 3, so our growing season is pretty short, which limits what we can successfully grow if we don't plan ahead.   We've purchased seedlings in the past, but this way we get to have a little science lesson.  And, we're not limited to whatever varieties happen to be at the store when we make it to town.

We used a homemade setup, but you can purchase kits complete with everything you need to start seeds.  As you probably know by now, I have a few laying hens, so family and friends save egg cartons for me.  I have a mountain of egg cartons.  We ripped the tops off a few of them and put them on a cookie sheet.  Pretty hi tech stuff.

I poured seed starting mix into the cartons and let my helpers smooth it out. 

They each had a row of big and a row of small seeds to plant.  One did butternut squash, the other sugar pie pumpkins.  For small seeds we used yellow pear tomatoes and plum tomatoes.  I'd like to start a slicing tomato or two, but that's what we had on hand.

I showed them how deep to make the hole and they did a great job of continuing their rows.  They covered the seeds, then we misted the soil with a spray bottle.  The package of seed starting mix suggested that and it worked really well the first few times we watered them.  None of that annoying beading up on the surface and running off without even wetting the soil.


This picture was taken about 10 days after planting.  We didn't plant the middle rows, yet.  I ran out of patience so I'll do that a different day rather than crab at my kids.  I'm thinking some herbs for the garden and my kitchen, that slicing tomato, and maybe a couple more flowers.

I had some help watering them, unbeknownst to me, and some of the smaller seeds got washed away in the flood, so we'll replant them, too.

I used a sharpie on popsicle sticks to label the rows.  Cheap and easy! 

As the plants outgrow their little cups we'll transplant them into larger vessels.  I have quite a few plastic pots left over from previous years, and a few plastic butter dishes, coffee cans, etc, that would work well, also.

We planted extras in case they didn't all germinate, so a couple nice tomato or squash seedlings might find new homes with friends or family.   The rest will be distributed around our yard and garden in hopes that we'll be enjoying the fruits of our labors (pun intended!) later this year.

Do you start seeds indoors?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pease Porridge Hot!

Pease porridge cold.
Pease porridge in a pot nine days old.
Some like it hot...

Some don't like it at all.  My children, for example.  I love it, though, and made it for dinner last night with the leftover ham bone from Easter dinner.  And, with a loaf of fresh sourdough bread, it was the perfect meal for a cold, snowy night.

This picture doesn't do this tasty soup justice, I promise! 

Megan's Split Pea Soup

1 meaty ham bone                                          3/4 c. chopped carrot
1 1/2 c. split peas, sorted and rinsed               3/4 c. chopped celery
4-6 cups water                                                1 c. frozen sweet peas
14.5 oz can chicken or vegetable broth             salt to taste
1/2 t. marjoram
1 T dried minced onion
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in 1st column, starting with 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Remove the ham bone.  Remove meat from the bone, discard bone, and return meat to soup with the vegetables from the second column.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Add additional water or broth as necessary while simmering to achieve desired consistency.  Taste, and adjust seasoning.  Serve, being prepared for immediate rejection by anyone under the age of five.

I made grilled cheese for the kids.  Honestly, I was surprised because they will eat almost anything and  I almost never offer a "kiddie meal" alternative.  But, when my sick 2 year old repeatedly wiped his mouth out with his napkin after a taste, I caved.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quick Tip

Mesh produce bags like this:
make awesome bath toy bags.  They're see-through, free, and allow the toys to air dry.  Did I mention they're free?

P.S.   I'm generally not a fan of navel oranges, but those Cara Cara oranges are deeee-lish.


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