Thursday, January 31, 2013

Today's Wildlife Story

We've had many wildlife sightings and stories on our property, and today's story concerns an unfortunate collision between a chickadee and a window.

During our lunch reading, we heard a large thump on the front window.  Everyone ran to look and saw a poor chickadee in the snow.

As the poor creature was unable to stand on its own....

Kristin came to its aid.

Now, since it is only six degrees outside, and we got yet another seven inches of snow last night, Kristin cuddled our little feathered friend in her hands.

After several minutes, it was beginning to come around...

and now could stand on its own.  The only problem was, the chickadee decided it liked Kristin an awful lot and didn't want to leave!  It took considerable persuasion, but she finally convinced it to sit on a box until it was ready to fly away.

By the way, in case you were wondering, Kristin says the short feathers on its breast are very soft and the tail feathers are silky.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter at "The Falls"

I've always wanted to see Tahquamenon Falls in the winter so...

Today, the four oldest, a family friend, and yours truly went to the Upper Falls.

This is a view from one of the observation decks that was farther away.

It was so interesting to see the tanin-colored foam that was frozen at the base of the falls.

These are ice formations caused by the mist coming from the falls.

The river above the falls...

...creates these amazing ice formations behind the falls.

The Tahquamenon River

Jonathan and Matthew on the main observation deck

Emily and Kristin on the main observation deck

"The Bigs" on the main deck
Do you see something in Matthew's hands?

Yes, he delivered the snowball and it was immediately "returned"!

Kristin thought it was funny!


Kristin is safely out of range.

It's a little deep if you don't stay on the groomed path!

Yep, that would be hip deep on the girls!  
It was interesting trying to get out!



Heading back to the car tired (me) and snowy (them).
A fun trip!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gluten Free Unleavened Bread

We have been studying the Last Supper and the Passover meal so...
We decided to make some gluten-free unleavened bread to illustrate.

First we had James put 2 cups of white rice flour in the bowl...

Next, we had him add 1 teaspoon salt...

Then, to keep the bread from being crumbly, he added one teaspoon guar gum.

His next step was one teaspoon olive oil and he managed not to spill any!

Finally, he added one and a half cups cold water.

Now it's time to mix it all up!

Once it's mixed, you grab some dough (after your sister makes you scrub your hands)
 and roll it into a ball.

Now it's time to squash your dough ball.

Eeeww, it's all starting to stick to me!  (Unlike his older brothers, 
it didn't occur to James to lick it off! -- at least at first :)

Now big sister helped so we could get eleven ready by lunch time.

Still helping...

Time to cook...
James didn't help with this part, but Kristin cooked these with a little palm oil shortening on medium till they were lightly browned--flipping them to cook both sides.

All done and time to eat!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You Might Think You're in the U.P. if...

                             You got over nineteen inches of snow in the last four days and...

our nearly three-foot tall pots are almost buried and...

it is currently - 11 outside!!!!   Brrr!!!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spiced Walnuts

Bob made these this afternoon for a snack and they were so good!  
Here's the recipe:

Beat 3 egg whites to a foam
Add 9 cups walnuts and 1/2 cup melted palm oil

In a separate bowl mix 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. salt, and 3 tsp. cinnamon

Add spice mixture to bowl with the nuts.  
Spread nuts on parchment paper lined baking sheets (2)
Bake at 250 for about 1 hour.  Depending on your oven, start checking after 50 minutes.
They are done when they are no longer sticky.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Finally Done!!!

Well, after much prodding, I managed to get the final family member on the "About Our Family" page. Have a look if you're curious.  I thought it was appropriate that the last one is the youngest.  He was being so goofy that we had quite a time getting a decent picture!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Almost done...

Make sure to check back on Friday.  I should finally have the whole family added to the "About Our Family" page!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Many Blessings

I was feeling under the weather yesterday morning and ended up not getting up until lunch.  For those of you who know me, you know that that just doesn't happen in our house.  I was so blessed by our children, though, that I just had to share.  Instead of just doing their own thing, Kristin made a list, grabbed two brothers, and went to do the grocery shopping.  She is a fantastic shopper and not only does she not buy things we don't need, but she sticks to the budget and even came home with a little left over!  While I still slept, they all pitched in and put all the groceries away, put the meat in the crock pot that could be pre-cooked for meals, and made lunch.  WOW!  The others were so quiet that the only thing I remember hearing was Emily practicing the piano.  (Someone is almost always practicing the piano.)  During that time, Emily also made a wonderful gluten free/dairy free blueberry coffee cake and pre-prepared ingredients for sausage egg muffins for Sunday morning breakfast!  As a result of all the extra rest, I was able to get up and have a little (very little) lunch with everyone and still manage to teach the intermediate orchestra later in the afternoon.

This was Sunday morning breakfast.  On our last trip to Meijer, (I really like Meijer), they had 10 lb. bags of Texas Ruby Red grapefruit for $3.99.  I got two.  I watch for these every winter.  It is so good! Hopefully they will still have some in February when we go back.  The coffee cake was delicious and so were the "muffins".

We make the "muffins" as follows:

Start with the sausage:
1 lb. ground turkey (we use Sheltons brand because they don't add anything I'm allergic to)
1 t ground sage
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 small onion finely chopped

Just throw it all in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  (If you're not using it for the muffins, you can just make patties and bake on a baking sheet for about 20 min. on 400 turning over once. ) 
If you are doing the muffins, grease the bottom of your muffin pans, then divide the mixture between 24 muffin cups by pushing about 1/8-1/4 cup into the bottom of each cup.  If you don't want this many just cut recipe in half.

Next comes the egg "topping":
12 eggs
You can add a little milk (we use rice milk) if you desire
2 c finely chopped kale or spinach (kale needs to be sauteed before adding)
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 t gr. mustard
1/4 t pepper

Again, just throw it all in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Use a measuring cup and divide up mixture between your 24 muffin cups.  Again, if you don't want this many, you'll have to cut recipe in half.
Bake at 400 till set.  This takes about 30 minutes depending on your oven.  Also, we have hot spots in our oven, so we have to turn our muffin pans.

Another blessing this Sunday morning.  I am now feeling fine, but now two of the "littles" are not.  It is such a blessing to be able to send the "bigs" early since Kristin is the organist this morning while Bob takes the healthy "littles" and I stay home with the sick "littles".  Whew!  How's that for logistics!  What a blessing to have extra (very responsible) drivers!

While everyone else was gone to church, God sent this cute juvenile woodchuck to entertain those who had to stay at home.

Friday, January 11, 2013

"New" Coffee Table

Bob made this table for me for our 2nd anniversary.  Believe it or not, after 21 years and 9 children it wasn't looking very good.  Soooo, Bob took it all apart and refinished it.  It looks like new!  It's wonderful to have a husband who enjoys wood-working!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trio Rehearsal Peek

I sat in on The Trio Magnificat's rehearsal today while they were working on a Mendelssohn piano trio for the March concert.  This was the first time they had ever played this movement together and I thought it was so funny to see and hear all of their clunkers, miscounts, and comments that I took a short video.  It's so easy to forget how much hard work goes into the finished product that we often think it just gets that way effortlessly.  If you've ever been tempted to think that, I think this clip should cure you of it.

This clip is of a different movement they've been working on for awhile.  I think you'll be able to tell a huge difference.  It's still not "concert worthy", but it's getting there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flute Lesson

Emily had her flute lesson at our house today, so I took the opportunity to video a play-through of one of her pieces.  This is a beautiful piece by Chaminade that she will be playing at the next concert in March.  Hopefully this will leave you wanting to hear the rest.  It really is beautiful!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Learning Geography

We have these great geography puzzles with the pieces in the shapes of the countries.  James was doing his choice this morning which was Europe.  I usually ask them to pronounce a few of the countries for me to make sure they know what the countries are, and not just where they go in the puzzle.  Today, James confidently answered when I pointed to one and said, "Stain".  It was hard not to laugh, but I managed and told him how to say it correctly.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Wascally Weasel"

Christopher is trying his hand at catching a weasel.  A friend gave him a trap today so he's going to give it a try.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Five Little Crows...

Have you ever heard the expression "Lined up like Crows"?  Well, our little crows were lined up watching I Love Lucy on "the big screen" this afternoon.  Helena is learning to crochet, so she was also multitasking at an early age.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Visiting Friends

We had the pleasure of visiting with a dear friend today.  This was one of our monthly trips to the "mitten", so we took a little extra time to visit some friends from Muskegon.  We were delighted to find that it was this beautiful lady's 93rd birthday.  The girls played a private concert for her and we were all able to wish her a happy birthday!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pie X 4 = Yummy Dinner!

When we travel, we've found that sweet potato pie makes a great dinner to pack along.  
This is Emily making the crusts.  Kristin usually makes the filling for us.

Once they are baked, we slice them and stack them in the cooler with plastic wrap on top.  They are so easy to eat in the car.  (Not too messy or too many crumbs and you don't even need a fork!)
These are really good right out of the oven too!

If you're interested, here is the filling recipe for one pie:

3 small or 2 large sweet potatoes baked
2 eggs (not baked--ha, ha)
2 oz. cream cheese
3/8 c sugar
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c milk

Peel sweet potatoes and put in blender.  Add all other ingredients and blenderize till smooth.  Pour into pie shell and bake at 400 for about 50 minutes.  Done when set and firm, but not black on top :)