Friday, May 30, 2014

Chicken Trouble (or Not All Craigslist People are Shady)

We ran into some trouble with our chickens, Muffin, Gertrude, and Francis.
Hi, "ladies"!
The trouble was that we got them from a very shady character, way out in the country, who assured us that they were female (we can't have roosters in the city). Since they were so young, we couldn't tell. Well guess who started crowing this last weekend? All of them.

Yep, all three of them were roosters. Pretty infuriating, huh? We were pretty panicked about getting them out of the city and who would take them, but things turned out better than we could have imagined. 

Saturday Gertrude started crowing. A family took now-King-Gert (thanks, Eryn, for the name!) to be their rooster on their farm. He was set out with all the ladies and looked prouder than ever. We got a brown hen and named her Betty, and she's been giving us a brown egg everyday. 
Woooah Brown Betty, bam a lam
We brought Betty home and Muffin and Francis immediately started mounting her...and crowing. We were not out of the woods yet on this. After some frantic craigslisting, we met a woman in a parking lot of a nearby restaurant and she took Muffin and Francis to live on her five acres where she takes in unwanted animals to just hang out and live their lives. Wow! This really couldn't have gone any better. 

The moral of the story is that there are a lot of good-hearted people out there. Strangers, even. Also, now we are on the search for another hen. 

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A full weekend!

Isn't this warm weather nice? It's so refreshing to sleep with the windows open and let the still cool night air fill the bedrooms. 

We put the beautiful weather to good use this past weekend. Saturday morning we had my favorite breakfast, eggs over easy served with pesto, a sprinkle of romano cheese and a toasted croissant (what?!? You've never had pesto with your really ought to change that).

Then it was off to the library as a family. We have a wonderful, large library here and we make use of it regularly. We came home with scorpion books for the future arachnologist, bluebird books for the budding ornithologist, every led zeppelin album on cd for the husband, and I decided to take a break from reading my typical DIY/science/anthropology/homeschooling books and read a novel for pure pleasure. I chose Ruby Red Heart in a Cold Blue Sea by Morgan Callen Rogers because I liked the title and needed something New Englandy to read. It's pretty good so far :)

We happened upon the best rummage sale ever that afternoon and found some amazing treasures and people too! 

The buffet/hutch we have some really fun plans for! We are going to scrape off the peeling veneer and replace it with colorful mexican tiles, stain the wood darker, and replace the knobs with glass. This piece will be perfect for extra counter space in my small kitchen and will be great storage for all my cast iron which is currently camping on my stovetop.

The end tables we will leave as is, they are just beautiful, and for now the small vanity stand will stay as is until I decide exactly what I want to do with it. 

We also got some fantastic books and statues too!!!

Sunday was a quiet day at home as daddy went fishing on the big lake in the morning. I packed the boys up to head to the greenhouse to find some flowers to plant in the front beds. The hyacinth have passed and the tulips nearly have and nothing else had popped up. We had turned down the block when I spotted a "free day lillies" sign and the woman who had just pulled them out of her garden was kind enough to offer to drop them by the house for me (I'm still surprised sometimes just how nice people are in this part of the country). 

We spent our afternoon transplanting lillies into the front garden beds. She said they will match our shutters and door when they bloom! 

It was a very fulfilling weekend! I just love finding treasures and getting my hands in the dirt (and so did the boys). 

I hope your weekends are just as fun!!! What family activities do you enjoy in the warmer months?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Introducing Game Night......and a tire swing.

You may (or may not) know that we are a family of hockey fans. It started with my husband who grew up in a Midwest state that turns into a sub-zero frozen prarie several months out of the year. He spent his days shooting pucks for hours on end. The memories he has surrounding hockey are some if his favorites from childhood and the love of the game never left him.

In our early days together I decided to become a hockey "fan" too. I didn't understand much about the game itself, but figured it was the only major sport fast paced enough to hold my attention. Plus, I loved skating too (figure skating is a sport......don't listen to my husband)!

Now our two older boys play hockey and I have a feeling once the littlest is 3 he's gonna get padded up and sent out on the ice too. 

So what does this have to do with family game night? I'm getting there I promise. But first......

(That's his hockey face)

(He fell asleep in his Wild jersey during playoff game 7, they still won ;)

So when we first moved in to this house in September I VERY reluctantly agreed to getting cable. I'm not a tv person but my husband really wanted to be able to watch hockey season now that we live in the same region as his favorite team, Minnesota Wild. So I said okay, but we cancel it at the end of hockey season. It's round 2 of the playoffs (btw, I now understand a good deal of the game and have been known to yell while watching the game) and the season will be ending in the next few weeks. Which means family game night will be replacing hockey night (the boys finished hockey last week and have a 2 month break). 

We bought some new games since we didn't have too many that were fun for all of us. It's so fun having kids old enough to play games that parents find fun too ( I can only stand so many rounds of Candy Land). We bought Yahtzee, Family Trivial Pursuit, Clue, and Uno. I'm so excited to start doing this!!! Do you have a family game night in your home? What games do you enjoy?

Oh and we now have a tire swing!!! Though both boys will use it, it was an 8th birthday present from Oma to our middle son. He is loving it. 

Look at that big 8 year old of mine! He's such a sweet kid :)

He had a wonderful birthday, complete with a rice crispy treat scorpion (he wants to be an arachnologist) custom made by daddy.

Birthdays are always a little bittersweet for me. It's hard to know your babies are growing up, each year represents one less year of them being little, wanting to hold hands with me, or climbing in our bed when they have a bad dream....but it's also pretty incredible to watch them grow and see who they are becoming independent of us. I'm lucky, they still hold my hands, crawl in bed (sometimes) after a nightmare, and cuddle up on the sofa with me. They are good, loving kids. 

This middle boy of mine, he is so smart. He will work at any project till he has it just right. He's always happy and willing to help around the house. He loves to run around, ride his bike, and play outside for hours on end. I could go on with a very long list but I'll end with my favorite thing about him; he is an amazing brother! He is so caring and empathetic. I've never seen anyone who can get a baby laughing the way he does with his little brother. He loves spending time with his older brother too and is always trying to come up with things they can do together (this is not always appreciated by our oldest, but such is life with siblings).

Happy Birthday sweet boy! I love you to the moon and back again times infinity!

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's the Time of the Season for...Coffee

Yesterday's temperature was in the 90's. It was glorious. My mom picked up the kids for a few hours and Husband and I made some cold soba noodles in peanut sauce and fresh rolls, and we had ourselves quite the romantic picnic at a park (I'm not saying there was wine...but there may have been wine). We threw the frisbee around while the sun was setting. When we came home, the kids got home shortly afterwards and we played Carcassonne, then played in the backyard with our pretty lights on the deck. It was really a spectacular evening. We slept with our windows open last night, ceiling fans going, and woke up to a perfect temperature in the house. I went out to feed the chickens in a t-shirt and maxi skirt and didn't even freeze. Ahhh, summertime.

For those of you who know, summertime brings about a special kind of coffee at our house that we try to always have on hand. Why? Make it and you'll know why.

This recipe is from Bon Appetit and is simple and delicious! I'd even say perfect.

The ingredients are simple (it helps to have a scale): 9 cups of water to 1/2 lb. of ground coffee beans.

I apologize for anyone who has already read this recipe from other blogs I've posted on...I just had to share here on MCA. It's a warm-weather favorite!

Vessel + coffee
First measure out the coffee. Tip: using a less-fine grind will be better for straining. Grinding the beans yourself works well, but buying ground coffee is fine, too. :)

Add 9 cups of water.

Husband is such a great hand model. He should be a professional.

After the water is added to the coffee, stir it all up and leave it alone!

Put on the lid and set it on the counter overnight. In the morning you will wake up to a glorious, caffeinated surprise!

(WARNING: This next part gets tricky at first...we ended up having a big mess to clean up on our first try. The mixture of coffee grounds and water is very...sloshy.)

Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the contents of your container into it. This will strain out MOST of the grounds. Throw those grounds away (or put them on your plants or in your compost pile or make a hat...whatever you want to do, really) and pour the strained liquid into another container. Wash out the bowl you just used because you are going to use it again! Whee!

Don't stop here! Go to the next step! (Sorry, I know you're thirsty.)

Now you will put a coffee filter into the strainer. This part goes a little slower, but it is worth it if you want the smoothest brew, trust me. Slowly pour the once-strained liquid into the filter and let it drain. You will have to do this a bit at a time, as it will not all fit into the strainer at once. Your patience shall be rewarded.


Throw out the filter and pour your fabulous new coffee into some sort of carafe. This one is supposed to be for orange juice, but now it is for coffee.

Hello, I'm Coffee Carafe. My OJ past is over; please don't bring it up.

Now for the part you've all been waiting for: IT'S DRINKING TIME! Here is what goes in my coffee:

Coffee, milk, and homemade vanilla a stemless wine glass because I'm fancy like that.

We do 1/2 cup coffee and 1/2 cup milk (my husband uses almond milk), and a shot of syrup (we just eyeball this). 

And here it is, ladies and gentlemen, Iced Coffee. I drink mine sans ice cubes, but Husband prefers ice in his. Just a warning: this stuff is GOOD. You might go through it pretty fast. Don't say I didn't warn you! =)