(Mostly) Spring Flowers

Yesterday I went out and took some pictures. All the flowers were blooming, so I crawled around in the dirt to take a few photos.  Dirty, yes, and rather uncomfortable, but I ended up with some fun pictures.  I got a tick after all that, though, so I’ll have to do a tick check next time.  Bugs are supposed to be bad this year since we didn’t have a real winter.  That means more ticks. 😦

Back to the subject at hand.  Here are some of the pictures.

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There are a few lovely tulips – I like this one especially

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Aren’t the pansies’ little faces so cute?

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That yellow is quite bright!

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Spring Beauties

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I think this flower is so pretty

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Do you see what I see? Everything’s turning…

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Green!

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Green!

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Green!

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Green!

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Green!

Miscellaneous

There have been a few things recently that have been getting me excited.  As none of them are long enough for there own post, I am going to post them all together.  How does that sound?  O.K.?

Well, last week we purchased half of a grass fed cow.  Our friends had an extra half, and they offered it to us.  I am so glad that we got some grass fed meat.  There were a lot of steaks and roasts.  Now I have to read Tender Grassfed Meat, which my mom bought awhile ago, and we’ll be all ready to go!  We also got some more lard, so I can make some more pies.  Mmmmm!

Some friends of ours dropped off our herb order from Mountain Rose Herbs this week!  So far, I have already made more Echinacea tincture and Elderberry syrup.  This should help us feel better, because Mom, Dad, and I have all been sick.  I am getting better, but my parents are still feeling pretty yucky.  I also purchased some essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs, and was very pleased to find out that they are therapeutic grade oils!  And plus, it is always fun to get more smelly oils.  🙂

You know that book I have posted about several times, titled Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it?  Well, the author wrote another one, titled Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it!  I AM SO EXCITED!  That didn’t convey all the excitement.  I AM SO SO VERY EXCITED!!!!!!  O.K., that was better.  I am hoping to get it here soon.

A bunch of our trees bloomed!  So did the tulips!  And the azalea bush!  And the rosebush did, too!  Since I have been sick, I have been unable to take many pictures, but I am hoping to get some today.

Well, I think that is all for now.  Thanks for listening to my ramblings.  It was good to get all that pent-up excitement out.  (I’ve used forms of the word excitement lots in this post, haven’t I?)

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A tulip that bloomed

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It was raining ever so lightly while I was taking pictures.  The sun was out, too!

Sons of Georgia Premier

Some dear friends of ours have been working on the movie “Sons of Georgia.”  They are nearing the end of about a year or more of planning and hard work.

The premier is next month.  We are planning to attend.  I am looking forward to seeing the movie, now that it is all finished!

Here is some information about the movie that my friend sent to me:

“You are all invited to the “Sons of Georgia” Premiere on Saturday, April 21st at 10:30 A.M. Children of Light Productions will be showing this film at the Hi-Pointe Theatre in Clayton, Missouri. This film will present Sherman’s epic March to the Sea through the eyes of the Georgia citizens. We would love for you to be able to attend. The “Sons of Georgia” DVD will be for sale at the premiere showing.

Samuel Saffa is the film’s producer and Stephen Littmann Jr. is the director. This 58 minute film is the product of many homeschool families in the St. Louis area and some in different directions outside of St. Louis … even as far as Texas. The film features as the Blanding family … Darrel and Terri Mays, Samuel and Gracie Lee Saffa, Addison Brown, Abriana Price, Ezra Proch and Evan Petzoldt . The first shoot, “Civil War Ball Scene”, was filmed at the 2011 CHEF Homeschool Conference.

The Hi-Pointe Theatre is located at 1005 McCausland Ave. next to the large Amoco sign near the St. Louis Zoo. Please plan for extra time to park and walk to theatre.”

For more information about “Sons of Georgia,” you can view their website here.

Baking

Last week Meiling, Noah, and I did some baking.  We made graham crackers from one of my favorite cookbooks, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon.  They turned out very well – I think they tasted pretty similar to graham crackers you get at the store.  Well, that could be taken in a bad way.  They had  an identifiable graham cracker taste.

After the graham crackers, I made Cranberry Walnut Scones with some help from Noah.  They turned out quite well.  We had them at a friends’ house about four years ago, and they gave us the recipe.  I think I had only made them once before.  They are very good, even with the dried cranberries.  I am not a big fan of dried fruit in baked goods, but I don’t made the cranberries at all!

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One of my little helpers

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Ready to cut in the butter

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Graham cracker dough

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Time to bake!

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Mmmm…of course it has to eaten off of a blue transferware plate!

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Broken

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Scones

Jeweled Jell-O Cups

Today is my little sister’s birthday (previously mentioned here).  It is our tradition to make the birthday person the dinner and dessert of there choice on their birthday.  Meiling requested Sloppy Joes for dinner and Jell-O for dessert.  Not just any Jell-O, but specifically red and orange Jell-O.  Today I made Jell-O.

I haven’t made Jell-O in years.  It was so long ago, I can barely even remember the last time I (or anyone in our family, for that matter) made Jell-O. 

Well, it wouldn’t be any fun to just make two bowls of Jell-O, especially since they were to be two different colors.  I considered layering them in a bowl, and making a batch of the Jell-o Jigglers on the side.  Mom then suggested to me what her dad used to do with Jell-O:  Make individual-sized servings in stemmed glasses, pouring each color as a layer and chilling in-between to make each layer distinct.  She said that he used to take the glasses and put them in a fridge with a wire rack, then tip them while they set, so that the layers were on angles to each other.

As our only fridge with wire shelves is downstairs and my toe is pretty sore from a procedure that was done yesterday (no details – trust me, you don’t want to know), that idea was pushed aside pretty early.

After some thinking and crafting, this is what I came up with.

Jeweled Jell-O Cups

3 – small packages Jell-O, either two of one flavor and one of a third flavor, or all three different flavors
1 – small package Jell-O, different flavor that the ones above, made into Jigglers and chilled according to package directions

1.  Collect 7-8 stemmed glasses, each with a capacity of about 1 cup.  If you want the serving sizes/layers to be smaller, use more glasses.  I used 7.

2. Make 1 package of the Jell-O according to package directions, then divide (somewhat) evenly between the glasses.  If you are using a total of 2 colors, you should be using the color that you have 2 boxes of.

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Refrigerate until firm.  They don’t need to be super firm – about 1 1/2 – 2 hours is fine.

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In the fridge

3.  In the meantime, cut up the Jigglers into little pieces.  The biggest side should be less than 1/2-inch in length.  Vary the sizes!  It will make this more fun.

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4.  Remove the glasses from the fridge, and place 4-7 of the Jiggler pieces in each glass (these are the jewels).  Return to fridge.

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Not the best picture – those lumps are the Jiggler pieces.

5.  If using 2 colors, mix up the contrasting color as directed on package, except don’t add the cold water just yet.  Let the hot molten Jell-O liquid cool for at least 10 minutes.  Once it has cooled,  add the cold water.  After you add the cold water, stick your finger in it to test the temperature.  It should be just warm.  Remember, you don’t want the Jell-O to harden in the bowl.

6.  Divide (somewhat) evenly between the glasses.  Return to fridge for about 20 minutes.

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Starting to look pretty!

7. Once the Jell-O is semi set, take it out and drop more Jiggler pieces on top. You want them to go into the second layer, so you may have to use a knife or some other tool to push them in.  Refrigerate until second layer is firm.

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8.  Mix up the last box of Jell-O, just like you did for the second layer with the cooling.  Divide that (somewhat) evenly between the glasses.  Refrigerate until set.  Voila! You’re done!  There are all kinds of variations – different colored Jiggler pieces, more thinner layers, three different color layers, and the jewels in the first and third layers instead of in the second layer.  The possibilities are endless!

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All three layers

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You can see the colors a little better in the glass on the right

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A fun picture – doesn’t this look like wine a little?  It’s Jell-O, though!

Today’s Adventures–3/24/2012

Mom woke me up slightly earlier than usual this morning.  We were going to a friends’ home to drop off some of our chickens, as our flock was getting too big.  Some of our chickens (who are currently free ranging) were scratching/dust bathing in our neighbor’s flower garden and garden.  Not good.  The decision we made was that we needed to pen up our flock. With the size of fencing that we have, though, we couldn’t pen up our 29 chickens.  It was decided that we needed to get rid of some, and since our friends have been buying eggs from us, and wanting some chickens for awhile, they agreed to take some of our excess.

Since we were already going to be up that direction, Mom decided that we were going to go pick up our chicken feed at a farm store and pick up some honey at an Amish store.

First things first – we had penned up the chickens that we were moving last night, so they just had to be put in the van this morning.  Well, when you put 10 chickens in a cage in the back of your van, and then proceed to take a 25 minute drive, things get interesting.  Let’s just be honest.  Chickens stink.  Especially when they are in confined spaces.  Mom and I ended up driving all of that time with the windows open (it was 55 degrees out).  I only brought with my jean jacket, so I was chilly.

After we dropped off the odorous passengers at our friends’ home, it was off to get honey.  It took about 25 minutes in a much warmer, quieter, and less smelly car to get to the Amish store.  Once we got out on the country road and around the Amish homes,  it was absolutely beautiful.  The morning sun was touching everything, bathing it all in a golden light.  The fields were green, except for some, which were purple with some little flowers that are blooming right now.  I hadn’t brought my camera, which I was rather unhappy about at the moment, but was probably a good thing, because if I had had it, I probably would have wanted to jump out of the car every 2 minutes to take a picture of something.  Yes, it really was that beautiful.

We saw a few horses and buggies, which was quite fun.  It also provided a new learning experience for me, since I was driving.  When we were leaving, there were three young men riding horses down the gravel road.  It made me wonder – why did we ever give up horses for cars?  Sure, cars are faster, but horses are so much more beautiful and, I don’t know quite how to articulate it, personal.  They have a personality.  They’re alive.

After that it was back to the town to pick up our chicken feed and a few bales of hay for our friends.  We then got back on the highway (after a quick stop at a grocery store and a chocolate shop :)) to head back to our friends’ home to drop off the hay and some feed.  The back of our car now held hay, five 50 lb. bags of chicken feed, and a large rock with which we had wedged the chicken’s cage.  Quite and interesting assortment, eh?

On our way home, we stopped at a meat processor’s to pick up some pork lard.  Yay!  Now I can make  apple pies again.

That was the extent of our morning travels.  We are going to a Republican Party dinner in our area this evening.  It should be very interesting.

Oh, and as a side note, a friend (the same one who took our chickens) loaned me The Pioneer Woman Cooks yesterday.  I have been enjoying it quite a bit.  Between reading that book and driving by those Amish homes in the lovely country, it is making me want to live somewhere REALLY country.  I love the country.  The Pioneer Woman also has a website, which you can visit here.  As with all things, please use discretion.  I have only been on her site once, and that rather briefly.

Almost 6

My little sister Meiling is almost six.  Her birthday is next week.  Today I dressed her up, and we went outside and took pictures.  There were plenty of flowers – some on bushes to use as a backdrop, and some to pick.  We had fun!

This was my first time doing portraits with props.  We collected some different items – some that Meiling liked or that matched her outfit – and threw them in a big plastic bag so they wouldn’t get dirty.  I carried that around while we were taking pictures.

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The wind was blowing, and Meiling was joking that she would let go of her parasol

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“Tut, tut, it looks like rain!”

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Meiling and her puppy dog Jake

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These were both so cute that I couldn’t take one out!

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Picking flowers

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The tulip bloomed!

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Jumping

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Meiling showing me how high she can climb

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Redbuds

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