Just So You Know.

I have lots of emails in my in-box and I have lots of replies in my head.  I would get the replies out of my head and send them to you, but I am teaching digraphs, rewriting schedules, experimenting with meals (philly-cheese steak lasagna was a big hit), finding a new home for a rooster, scrubbing marker smily faces off the wall, and kissing boo-boos.  For some reason I am feeling exceptionally busy right now, and I have family coming in to town next week so I think I'll be even busier then...

But, I don't like leaving people hanging.  Just so you know.

Yes! Saving summer clothes!

We eat a lot of blueberries and cherries in the summer.  I just love fresh fruit right off the vine, but I do not love the stains the juice leaves on my children's clothes.
I have thrown away sweet little summer dresses for lack of a good fruit stain remover.
The other day somebody (not naming names) gave Pops a handful of cherries in his brand new Old Navy Polo Shirt.  I did not drive all the way over to the main land to Old Navy to throw away a shirt after only one use! I was determined to find a solution, and I did.
I just wanted to share it with you, because I have now used it for cherries and blueberries and it totally worked like magic.  Maybe you already know this trick, so just act like it is the best news ever.  Are you ready?

Boiling water.  Yup, that is all.
Seems strange, hot water normally sets in a stain right?  That is what I thought.  I poured water right out of the tea kettle and the stains disappeared like magic.
Do you have any cool cleaning tricks you'd like to share?

My Up Do

Thrifty, frugal, cheap...Recycle, upcycle, remodel...
whatever you want to call it.

I love projects and I needed curtains for the guest bedroom.  I wanted to be thrifty, but I also want something pleasing.  Sometimes it is really hard to fight the urge to just go out and buy something new.  I could justify this, I have family coming in and they need a curtain on the window, right?
Even a cheap curtain and rod set from good ole' wally-world would run about $40 buck now-a-days. (And your next door neighbor probably has the same stock curtain.)  I like something a bit different, and preferably not made in China. I already had a few pieces that were in the guest room so I hit up a couple thrift stores with those items in mind. 
I found these curtains for $1

added some ribbon

found a dowel and some old fashion hooks

and viola!

With just a little extra effort (not to mention fun) I was able to create this unique set for our guest room for just under $22 and it matches the main items we already had.

I have lots of other thrifty projects in the works, so stay tuned!


Right in My Own Back Yard!

all right, it wasn't actually in my back yard, but it was at the end of the street! I don't know if it is because the Bald Eagle tends to represent America's Freedom, or something else, but our family is really enjoying watching these "praying birds" as Butter calls them after hearing them be referred to as "birds of prey."

This yellow guy actually was in our yard though.
Can one of our BFTKC friends tell us what kind of spider it is?

I Thought It Was Summer.

It was so nice I even started handing out summer hair cuts...

But we had to wear our jackets again yesterday.  Do not let the sunshine fool you, there is no need for air conditioning here. 
So, if you are coming to visit, make sure you leave your shorts at home.


Rhubarb moved into the garage after announcing to the entire neighborhood  that he was in fact a he.
At the mention of culling him (that is a nice word for eating) some of the kids started crying and even though I grew up with eating most of our food fresh, I never had to deal with my children's innocent eyes looking up at me as I mentioned eating their pet.
But, we feel it could offer many valuable lessons, so...
Being the kind and thoughtful parents that we are, Mr. Pilot and I put the kids to bed and started googling how to cull a chicken.  Truthfully, I could probably remember how to do it even thought it has been a long time since I have assisted with any sort of culling, but I might wimp out and my husband is a former city boy and wouldn't even know where to begin...   

There is an impressive amount of information about how to cull a chicken on the web.  We learned that even 11 year olds can run chicken processing businesses. 
We came across the whizbang chicken plucker  
and found it to be quite~uhm~interesting.  After several gasps and laughs and chicken-with-its-head-cut-off jokes, we decided on running an ad at the local farm supply store first, in hopes that someone might want him.  (yeah, I am a wimp) but we agreed to mentally prepare for another method since it wouldn't be right to keep him in the garage for long.  So, here is the add we posted: 

Rosemary Rhubarb needs a new home.

Our 12 week old Maran Cockerel (April 1st)
was supposed to be a hen.
Please call if you are interested in giving Rhubarb a nice new home.


My Butter Cup

I just cannot believe how big this girl is getting.  And how lovely she has become.  My Butter has profound understanding and intuition and sometimes she baffles me with maturity.  What a gift she has, and what a gift she is!


The Scoop on the Coop and Poop!

Pops insists the chickens new home is called a poop, no matter how much I try to convince him its a coop.  Oh well.

Since our ladies aren't producing eggs just yet, we have them earning their keep by turning the compost pile.  They are really good at it.  It's like they were made to work in a garden or something.

Isn't the coop charming?  I am so proud of Mr. Pilot! A job well done!  

I didn't take a picture from the other side, but they even have their own sky lights.

It is a tractor, so the chickens can poop all over the yard instead of just one spot.  Doesn't that sound exciting?

They absolutely love their home.  They are roosting here, and you can see their nesting boxes down behind them.  That is where they will lay their eggs, and that side lifts up too, so we can easily gather our breakfast.

Chickens are awesome.  They go to bed around 7 pm every night, all on their own. My children could learn something from them.  (The going to bed at 7 on their own, not the pooping all over the yard, lol) They just go right up the ladder and then we use a pulley to raise it up for the night so no predators can get in, and they sleep tight all night.

Chicken poop is actually really good for the garden, did you know that?  They even sell chicken manure on the side of the road here.  Well, not actually the side of the road, but in the little farms that put signs along the side of the road anyway.  Maybe we could sell some.  Like a lemonade stand and the end of the drive way, only a poop stand instead.  Alright! I am only joking.

We are absolutely loving our chickens.

We are pretty sure Rosemary however, is not a Rose or a Mary.  Butter had re-named her him Rhubarb.  Luckily we found someone willing to take her if she is in fact, a him, and not for culling either (that means eating for all you non-chicken folk) either. All the signs are there, save the "cock-a-doodle" that would get us busted for having a rooster in town.  I am still holding out the teensiest bit of hope that she is just a manly hen, but we are preparing Butter for what seems inevitable.
I wonder if I should buy her a guinea pig or something, to easy the disappointment.  I think that would work, right up until my cat gets a hold of it.  So, scratch that idea.  Butter says she wants a piglet if Rosemary is Rhubarb.  I just don't think pigs are allowed in town.


I just received some delightful news!  One of my dearest friends is coming to Whidbey Island! They got verbal orders today, they will be stationed here for 3 years.  We are so excited.  Sis even cried.  This is sweet news.

Praying for a safe , speedy, and smooth transfer all the way across America for our friends!


Healthy Creamer

My husband loves creamer in his morning coffee.  I don't love hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors and all the other junk that I can't pronounce that makes up that creamer.  As a mostly green momma, I can't with a good conscience dump chemicals in my dear husbands morning cup of joe.  Seriously, it took me a good 6 months to get him used to the Sucanat I was sneaking in there, so I knew it would take some effort to wean him off the garbage creamer he so enjoys.  After looking around for organic creamers, I found them to be ridiculously expensive and not very yummy.  As a green but frugal momma, I can't justify that as my alternative either.  But, I found a healthier and more frugal, therefore delightful alternative!  And my husband actually LOVES it (as opposed to tolerating it) and I am so glad.

I apologize in advance that I still don't know how to use measuring utensils.  If you want to try out our super delicious creamer, you will just have to wing it.  Don't worry, it'll be great!

Ingredients :
Organic Half-n-half OR organic milk plus organic heavy whipping cream
Organic Maple Syrup
Vanilla (non imitation)

Pour some half-n-half (or cream plus milk) into a fancy glass container (the container makes it taste better, trust me)
then dump in some syrup (my cool container holds about 11 oz of the cream and I added enough syrup to make about 1/4 inch on the bottom )
add in some vanilla (for this same container I would guess I used about 3/4 tablespoon)
Shake like crazy

if you follow these very scientific and exact directions, then add it to your favorite freshly ground and brewed coffee, you will be enjoying a very delicious cup of coffee.  Also, my scientific instructions obliterate all calories, so don't worry about the fat in the cream.  Just enjoy the coffee, and pretend like you are drinking it with me.


Coming soon (hopefully): I am attempting a non-dairy version as Princess Growler still can't stand it when I enjoy dairy, but it is still in the swirling-around-in-my-mind stage.  Stay tuned.


Fool Them!

How do you get your little ones to eat their greens?

I am always looking for good ways to get that calcium.  My family doesn't really drink milk (it is expensive, full of hormones, and not really good for you anyway) so greens it is.

I bough some swiss chard awhile ago, but wasn't quite sure how to cook it.  I happened to be roasting veggies for dinner and decided to throw the chard in also.

I simply washed the fresh leaves and laid them flat on a cookie sheet.  I gave a quick spray of olive oil, dusted with salt and garlic, and throw the pan in the oven on 350 just until they were crispy.
I served it up with dinner and called it chips since the leaves were paper thin and crumbly.

It totally worked!  My kids absolutely loved it.  I have since tried it with mustard greens, kale and chard and it is a complete success.  They like it so much they asked to plant swiss chard in the garden.

Boy made it again for lunch today and I was planning on taking pictures of it, but they ate it too fast.

You could try this too, and let me know your sneaky ways to feed your flock some greens!


My Kids are Smart!

They offered to pull dandelions from our yard for just a penny.  Just a penny.
How was I to know it was a "get rich quick" scheme?!

By the time I shelled out over $6, I decided I'll just mow the lawn next time! Ha!

Yes, I believe I would.

You asked.  The answer is yes.  I would live in the RV again.  Does that shock you?  It does me a little.  But since you asked, I had to think about it. It is kinda funny to me that my old house is about 20 feet out my front door.  Last weekend I put some boxes inside the RV for storage.  I must admit, if something happened and I had to live in my RV again starting tomorrow, I'd be just fine with it.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the house we are in, and I love the yard and the dishwasher, but...

Eventually I will get around to posting all the reasons why I'd be fine living in an RV.  And I think I'll interview the children and get their opinions too.  That might be fun.