what i’ve been up to ….

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~ We had a little mishap with our chicken coop. It didn’t seem like a little mishap at the time – I was mildly traumatized – but looking at it now, I know it could have been so much worse.

We had a small fire in our chicken coop. Miraculously, none of our little chicks were hurt when the heat lamp fell down into the small area we had sectioned off for them inside our larger coop. My hubby fixed the floor and we repainted all the wood to seal it while the chickens stayed in the house for a couple of days.

~ We took a field trip. One of our favorite local museums hosted a Homeschool Day. We went with some friends and had an awesome time. The weather was absolutely beautiful. I think after the long winter we had, getting out for a fun day was just what we needed to get us through the last few weeks of school.

~ We finally got Bob the Bear mounted on the wall. I purchased Bob at an auction and we finally found time to get him up in his spot. I think he looks pretty good!

~ We spent a morning in the ER with Lauren. After a weekend of stomach pains, with all it’s yucky side effects, no appetite and a fever, I called her doctor on Monday. Once I mentioned the words ‘stomach pain,’ ‘fever’ and ‘right side’ in the same sentence, they told me to take her to the ER to get her appendix checked. In my mind, this meant we would be whisked right in because hello! my baby’s appendix could be on the verge of bursting inside her! To the ER staff, we were just another case. To Lauren, this was all much too drawn out and boring for her. I found these pics on my phone afterwards.

             

We were eventually sent home with some anti-nausea meds and strict orders to bring her back if the stomach pains worsened. She’s much improved today, so it must have just been a horrible stomach virus.

What have you been up to?

Five Things

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On my heart: Philippians 2:17 — Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. — being poured out as an offering. As a sacrifice. Doesn’t sound pleasant, but wasn’t Jesus the ultimate sacrifice? Then isn’t it something we should be striving for? Homeschooling is a sacrifice. Being a mother means constantly laying down – sacrificing – my wants for the needs of others. I need to pour myself out for the people that God gave me to serve and raise, for our local church and for people around me that need to see Jesus.

On my mind: Are we doing enough spelling? Why didn’t I start using Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool sooner?  Are we ready to start raising our own pigs? Will the girls get too attached to them by slaughtering time? Why are we so loud?  Khan Academy, I still love you. I need to write my quarterly reports, like, right now. When will the jam muffins be cooled off? (recipe below!)

On my iPod: I Know That You Are For Me by Kari Jobe,  Wasting All These Tears by Cassadee Pope, We The Redeemed by Hillsongs, All Sons And Daughters and Chris Tomlin

On my DVR: lots of Little Bear and Sofia the First … a new show that my big girls and I are getting into is When Calls The Heart … Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s Cinderella … Last Man Standing (Tim Allen cracks me up!) … lots of sports shows … reruns of The Cosby Show

On my schedule: making dinner for a friend that just had a sweet baby girl, an extra special review for a great reading product, a dinner date with my hubster thanks to a gift certificate we won at his company party, sending my oldest off to a youth conference at our church, lots of Upward basketball and the Superbowl.

Plus a recipe —

Jam Muffins

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 400* and grease muffin tin.
Mix dry ingredients, then add in wet ingredients.
Stir until dough is smooth.
Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full with batter, then drop about a half teaspoon of your favorite jam on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from muffin tins and cool on rack. These are delicious just as they are but for an extra treat, split a muffin and add a pat of softened butter.
{Beware — the jam is the equivalent of molten lava until the muffins cool so be careful!}

The Power is Out! Now What?!

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I live in a very rural area. Power outages are not uncommon throughout the year but in the winter, it creates some special challenges. Keeping the house heated and so on is my husband’s responsibility.

But the kitchen and the cooking? All me.

Here are a few of the things that are essential to my kitchen – both with power and without. Our families need to eat, right? These items help me keep food preparations easy.
 

  First things first. Coffee. No electric? No coffee maker. Since coffee is a necessity in my life, I always keep one of these coffee percolators handy. I’ve used it on campfires, on my propane-powered stove and on my husband’s grill in a pinch. I do not mess around when it comes to my morning coffee. My percolator stays in my kitchen (middle drawer, right hand side) at all times.


If coffee is a necessity for me, soft butter is a necessity for my husband. Enter the Butter Bell.  It keeps one stick of butter soft and safe to keep on the counter for 30 days at a time. Since we don’t have a microwave, this is a necessity in our house at all times. When we have no power, it’s nice to know that butter is one less thing I have to open the refrigerator to grab when preparing a meal.

This isn’t necessarily something that I need when the power goes out as much as it’s something that I use constantly. Good, quality wooden spoons. They don’t taint the flavor of your food. They don’t heat up if you leave them in the pan. They might burn if you leave them to close to your cooking flame. But overall, I prefer wooden spoons to metal.

These might be the coolest wooden spoons ever.

I’m sure this next one is going to make me sound a little crazy so bear with me here. I might be a little obsessed with glass jars. Salsa jars. Pickle jars. Sauce jars. Anything. As long as I have the lid, I save them. Glass jars are great for storing leftovers. You can also submerge them in warm water to reheat the leftovers. I have them in every size you can imagine right up to one gallon jars that I keep my bulk grains in. I love glass jars. Need a candle holder? glass jar. Need a container for utensils at a potluck? glass jars. Are all your glasses dirty but you don’t want to waste water with washing dishes during a power outage? glass jars. I think I have a problem.

 A few common sense items that I keep in stock at all times: non-electric can opener, matches and candles. When candles go on clearance after the holidays, snatch them up! Who cares what they smell like! If you are in a long term power outage situation, they will all come in handy. We also keep no less than four oil lamps and extra oil in our house. They let off a lot of light and the oil lasts forever.

We have invested in cast iron cookware  over the last few years. It can be used in the house as your regular cookware but in an emergency situation, you can use it on a campfire or barbecue grill. The dutch ovens can be used for baking – biscuits, breads, cakes, etc – even out on the grill. It might take a little practice, but in a pinch you could cook and bake for your family outdoors.

What do you keep around your house in case of a power outage?

Year in Review 2013

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I thought it would be fun to look back on 2013 and get a glimpse of what happened in the life of the Card family over the last 12 months.  Here we go!

January

January started off with lots of work, late nights, inspections, packing and finally on January 25, we moved into our new house. We all underestimated how long and hard it would be to build our own house. But, man. That move in day made it all worth it.

February

A snowy, cold February left us plenty of time for getting our new house organized. Items we had put in storage over two years earlier came back out. The girls spread out into their big bedrooms, with Lael and Alyssa having their own rooms for the first time.

March

We celebrated our first big holiday in the new house. {Are you noticing a trend here? LOTS of ‘firsts’ in the new house in 2013!} Easter was quiet, with just us at home. But the girls enjoyed dying Easter eggs, opening baskets and dressing in some pretty spring outfits for church.

And we celebrated the 6th birthday of this little beauty!

April

April was just a regular, getting back on track kinda month. Lots of school. Lots of baking. Lots of time for me to relearn how to do more things from scratch. Our kitchen island often looked like this on school days.

May

The girls had their annual Academy Night, through our homeschool enrichment program.

We also jumped right into turning our land into a hobby farm. Our first venture? Chickens.

June

We finished up school and fully embraced summer in all it’s lazy craziness. Lauren graduated from kindergarten and we watched another Card girl walk across the stage, accepting her certificate.

We also celebrated Lael’s 12th birthday. Then we decided to lock her in a closet for the next 10 years. Just kidding. sort of.

July

We began our summer in earnest in July. Lots of travel and fun with family filled the next two months. The girls took part in our town’s annual 4th of July parade. Our float theme was Dr. Seuss, so the girls dressed like Whos.

Right after the parade, we drove to my parents’ house to celebrate my mother’s retirement. It was great to see faraway family and to give the girls time to play with their cousins.

August

In August, we spent a long weekend at my parents’ house again because my cousin was up visiting with her family. Our girls get along wonderfully and we were able to do a few special things with them. It’s great to make memories and give our daughters time to develop their own relationship.

Lauren, Cassidy, Lael and Alyssa

Two days at a local water park!

We also spent a day at our favorite museum in the Adirondacks.

September

It was finally September and time for routine again. We started school, but finished most days in time for the girls to go off riding their bikes with friends. Our fall was beautiful, with perfect temperatures and amazing foliage. We enjoyed every minute of it.

And we finally got grass in our yard!

October

Our Alyssa celebrated her 10th birthday in October! She is such a sweetie, we can’t imagine life without her. For her party, she could pick whatever she wanted. Her choice? A camo spa. It was a great day. My friend Carol – of Fox & Paper – made awesome invites.

 It was also this little cutie’s 3rd birthday! She likes to wear these glasses and tell us all what to do. Kind of hard to resist, don’t you think?

November

The month of thankfulness. I loved decorating the house for our first Thanksgiving here. My parents joined us for a few days and celebrated Thanksgiving day with us. It was wonderful. On Black Friday, I went shopping with Josh and my dad as well as my mom and the girls later in the day. It was a great kickoff to the holiday season!

December

Finally, it was here. We got our tree early. We decorated early. We enjoyed every moment of our December. We hosted a baby shower for a dear friend. Lael and I sang in the Christmas Eve choir. We spoiled each other silly on Christmas morning. I have no pictures of our celebrations, because I was too busy enjoying every second.

 

So here we come 2014.
We will become the parents of a teenager.
We will continue to build our little hobby farm.

We will strive to glorify Christ in all we do.

Saturday’s Agenda:

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1) Prepare tomorrow’s lunch. Cooking for Sunday on Saturday has become one of my favorite things to do. It makes my Sundays very relaxing. That’s probably why God told us to take a Sabbath, huh?  I run out of good football food ideas every few weeks but Pioneer Woman made this on her show last week. So I’m making it.  It looks yummy, don’t you think?

PW’s photo, not mine.

2) Turn a bushel of apples into applesauce. I love preserving fresh produce for us to enjoy all winter long. No mealy, store-bought-in-January apples for this girl. I’d rather crack open a can of applesauce knowing my girls are getting fresh, local food. We don’t make the best choices all the time but this one is really important to me. By the end of the day, I hope to have several jars that look like this:

PYO’s photo.

3) Make homemade rolls to go along with Number 1. I’m going to try to snap some photos and blog the recipe I use next week. It makes the best sandwich rolls ever. At least we think so.

4) Make cinnamon swirl bread. I’m trying this recipe. Cinnamon swirl bread is usually reserved for Easter breakfast but I’m breaking the rules. Everyone loves it and I love trying new recipes.

And if I’m still standing…

5) Our church Member’s Dinner. It’s a special time of fellowship and vision casting that I look forward to every fall. And it counts as a date night in my book. 

So I’d better get moving! Number 1 is already in the crock pot and the jars are in the dishwasher for Number 2. What’s on your agenda for today?