Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thar She Blows! ...And Yet Another Movie

Our outdoor activities have been put off to the side for the last couple days, mostly due to the rain. Lindsay is anxious to get started on her skating lessons again, and Nathan always has some special project in mind.

In addition to the rain, which has really been coming down in sheets, last night the wind decided to pay us a visit. Fortunately, we're pretty well protected at our house, so our anemometer records relatively low gusts, but the trees, all about our property,extending high into the sky, as well as the roar that reaches our ears, tell a very different story. It was downright windy last night!

It all started shortly after 6, as we were finishing up our dinner, and was still blowing when Pa and I retired for the night. This morning, Lindsay recalled how she had awakened at 3AM to the sound of the wind blowing so hard she thought it might damage the house. So far we haven't noticed any damage outside, but then we've only managed to wander as far as the wood shed, which doubles as the cats' feeding station.

Now that the wind has pretty much subsided, we are left to gaze at the rain once again. While the rain seems a bit of a nuisance in the short term, we really can't complain too much, as it seems our area is currently low in needed precipitation, so, as long as it doesn't present us with any major flooding problems, we'll put up with it, and perhaps even consider it with some gratitude. Skating lessons will wait a bit longer...

Fortunately, we have a generator, an important device for those, like us, who live in rural areas, so Pa and I were able to cozy up, enjoy the heat emanating from the wood stove, and watch a movie with minimal concerns about a power outage last night.

The film we chose was one I had watched a good portion of several years ago. By the end of the film I was so happy to have been given the opportunity of watching it in it's entirety, as it left me with a completely different feeling than the last time I had seen it. Project X ,starring Matthew Broderick, and Helen Hunt, is an emotional ride with a message, about a chimp ripped from his Mother, and his home, and transplanted in the US. He's one of the lucky ones, being placed in a facility where a caring young woman teaches him sign language, and grows to love him (as will you!). Naturally, funding runs out and, despite the tearful protests of the young lady who trained him, he is transferred to a facility which is gradually revealed to be much less desirable.

While this was not a film destined for inclusion in the list of Classic "must sees", it is one I would classify as definitely worthy of the two hours of sit down time. If you are one who enjoyed the story of "Free Willy", have compassion for those in the "Animal Kingdom", or just enjoy a rather heartwarming story, even if (or, perhaps especially if) it doesn't include a romantic plot, contains no nudity, and minimal "4 letter words", then you may enjoy this film as well.

The kids are currently making the most of their before school time, rushing about outside, collecting lichen covered twigs and branches which were blown down in the wind storm last night, breaking them down to size,and bringing them inside for fire starter.

I'm thinking this is a sign that it is time to get busy myself, preparing for the days lessons. We're keeping our fingers crossed that by the time our lessons are complete, the sun will have appeared so they kids will be able to enjoy a bit more time outside before we need to get busy with other pressing projects.

It's just another entertaining day in the boondocks!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Boondock Rain...And A Movie!

Yesterday was a fun day. The sun peered through the clouds just enough to keep things bright, and the clouds were kind enough to refrain from weeping, allowing us all some time outside, including Lindsay's second skating lesson. Slowly but surely, she's getting it down.

Last night, as the sun shrank from view, the clouds gathered together, obscuring our view of the moon, which we're pretty sure actually did rise in the sky. Once they had taken over, the tear drops began to fall, lightly at first, then they really got going. It was as if they had finally been allowed their time together to share in whatever common grief they shared, and, well, you know what they say about misery loving company...

This morning the clouds are still with us. Guess they had a lot to catch up on and, evidently, none of the subjects on their collective minds were happy ones. Ah well. Unlike those dark and gloomy clouds, we're not going to allow ourselves to dwell on the negatives. Rather, we're going to do our best to take advantage of the situation and busy ourselves with those things which somehow seem to take second place on days when the sun is shining brightly.

At the moment, the kids are both enjoying their reading time. Pa is finishing his coffee as he reflects on his plans for the day, and me, well, obviously I'm busy tapping away on the keyboard ;-) Actually, I do have plans for the day, which include my usual household chores, getting ready for the school week ahead of us and, especially since I didn't quite manage it yesterday, I have every intention of getting some knitting done today! After all, I do have my new abacus to play with :)

Saturday Night At The Movies

This last week I forgot to update our Netflix list until after the kids had headed off to dreamland. Therefore, I had to make the choice for their movie of the week for them. After viewing Flight Of The Navigator last night I was tickled to hear both my young 'uns comment that I pick "good movies!" It really was a fun movie about a 12 year old, who bonks his head and wakes up 8 years later, still 12 years of age. Naturally, this results in a bit of confusion, for him, his family, and NASA ! An adventure (including a rather entertaining trip in a spaceship) film for the young and young at heart, with just the right amount of humor tossed in, I would recommend this film for families with children in the 8 -12 year range, maybe even a little older .

Yesterday evening, Nathan was anxious to try cooked turnip greens he had grown in his greenhouse. Pa and the kids ended up having a simple meal of mac 'n' cheese with the turnip greens on the side. I had a taste of the turnip greens, opting to allow the kiddos the pleasure of the bulk amount, and followed up with a salmon burger. We were all pleasantly surprised with the turnip greens, which Nathan declared "kinda like spinach but stronger." I couldn't have described it any better than that. I'm rather hoping Nathan will choose to grow more of this product for future edible kitchen experiments.

As always, time is ticking away on our last day of the weekend, and so I shall pick up the pace, leaving you, and allowing myself, to make the most of the day ahead.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Thrifty Fun Friday

Lately we've opted to change our schedule a bit and have been making our weekly trip to town on Fridays. The main reason for the change is that we've found our Grocery Outlet seems to have a better selection on Fridays.

This week, in addition to our usual gad-about, we stopped by Goodwill. Lindsay has been wanting a pair of skates and she just had a feeling Goodwill might have them this week. Turns out she was right. We found her a pair of real nice "shoe-skates", that looked like new. There's not a scuff mark to be seen, and they fit her great, for a mere $4.99. In addition to that great find, we found two coats for her (one for play, one for town), and one for Nathan (for town, his old one is still fine for play).

I was also tickled to find several items I was interested in, including 2 items which I had been in search of for quite some time. The one I was most excited about was the abacus. While I realize most folks rely on a row counter, which is easily found for a reasonable price at most any store that sells yarn, or several other options available for keeping track of the rows and pattern repeats when knitting and crocheting, several years ago I decided to give the kids' small abacus a try and I liked it! However, that little abacus did have it's drawbacks. First off, it was only one row, and it contained but 20 beads. I really wanted more rows and more beads to keep track of various aspects of certain patterns. Secondly, the kids' abacus was but one small part of a math learning system, which made it rather bulky, especially considering it's limits for my uses.

My new abacus is sitting proudly on the dining room table for now. I sat it there last night so I could admire it immediately upon entering the room this morning. Once I've got my other chores done for the day I'm looking forward to setting it beside me on the couch and getting to work on one of my latest knitting projects.

In the meantime, Lindsay has requested assistance in learning to skate with her new skates. It's been quite awhile since I've donned a pair of those things, and mine weren't nearly so fancy as hers, but I think I should be able to remember enough to give her a good start. Once she has that down at least a bit, I'll be posting a photo of her demonstrating her success!

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Keeping My Fingers crossed...

Yes!! It worked!!!! It took all day (after working on it pretty much all week!) but, I finally managed to post a picture on Flickr (seriously, it took me hours just to do that today!) then, I finally figured out a way to post that picture within a post here, without using the flickr posting feature. Now I can relax and enjoy my evening!

Oh! If your wondering...this is a picture of the kids with one of the cats in one of their favorite hang-outs in our back yard, or maybe it's our front yard. Yeah, according to the "rules" I remamber, it probably is the front yard, but it feels like the back yard! ;-)

Mystery Solved!

Or not....Still trying to post pictures via blogger rather than having to rely on the flickr format. Thought I had it, but after 20 minutes waiting for it to load I gave up. At least it didn't freeze up on me. It's a beginning. The "fun" continues...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Creamy Goulash Ala Ma

Yesterday afternoon, I had a moment of inspiration, which grew as I considered what ingredients I had on hand. I grabbed a pound of ground turkey from the freezer and placed it near the Aladdin lamp to thaw. By the time 5:00 arrived, the meat had thawed and I had a pretty good idea what all I was going to include in my latest creation, which ended up being a new version of an old favorite. The ingredients I ended up using were....

1 lb. ground turkey
2 Tbsp. (approximately) olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped*
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 tsp. (approximately) oregano
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 small can sliced olives
8 oz. cream cheese**
6 oz. Tomato paste
3-4 oz. water
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. noodles (I used a multi color), cooked
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

First, I sauteed the onion, garlic and red bell pepper in the olive oil until the onion was transparent and the bell peppers were tender. I then added the ground turkey and oregano, cooking and stirring until the turkey was cooked. Next, I proceeded to add the cream cheese to the turkey mixture, breaking it apart and "smooshing" 'til it was smooth and creamy, then added the olives (reserving a few for garnish), mushrooms, tomato paste, the 3-4 oz. of water (about 1/2 a tomato paste can) and the salt and pepper. I cooked and stirred this as my noodles cooked. Once the noodles were done I stirred the sour cream in to the turkey mixture, and allowed it to heat through as I drained the noodles then mixed everything together.

Now for the fun part! I grabbed a casserole dish (2 qt. ?), and layered approximately 1/3 of the hot mixture in the bottom, topped that with about 1/3 of the grated cheese, and repeated the process. The top layer was the noodle mixture with a smaller amount of cheese and the reserved olives on top just to make it purty ;-)

Since we are currently without an oven (yeah, *sigh*, it happened again) I was tickled to note this layering process resulted in the cheese melting perfectly between the layers, but you could easily make this ahead and pop it in the oven for a bit to warm it all up (I'm figuring 30-45 minutes at 350° come supper time!

This will serve 6-8

I served this with a side of peas. Between the colorful noodles, the red bell pepper and the peas, it made for a lovely presentation. The kids even commented on the colorful aspect of it, and everyone but Pa had seconds. The kids are looking forward to leftovers for lunch today.

*Or opt for half green and half red bell peppers!

** If, like Pa, you or a majority of family members aren't quite so fond of cream cheese as the kids and I are, you could opt for a cup of strained (6-8 hours) plain yogurt, or maybe even cottage cheese in place of the cream cheese.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Photo Posting Attempt

Making A Point
Originally uploaded by boondockma
Alrighty then! I've been trying and trying to post photos the way I used to, but for the time being anyway, it just doesn't seem to be working out so...I decided to try one of Kimmi's suggestions and see if I could manage to post from my Flickr.

If this works out I may try playing with it a bit, and see if I can figure out some placement options, but for now...well...I'm just keeping my fingers crossed this shows up!

Ladies and Gents! Here we have President (sans the hat) and Mrs. Lincoln all ready for the big ball!

A Classic Choice

Since we just spent a rather intense, yet fun 2 weeks learning about our 16th President, and I had less than an adequate amount of sleep last night, resulting in a rather foggy day for me today, I'm giving the kids the day off from school in honor of President's Day. They're having a grand time outside, blazing trails and considering "improvements" to their little corner of the world. It's a good day for it, as it is not raining, but the sky is cloudy and the forecast promises plenty of precipitation to come.

The feeding stations Pa and the kids have set up for the birds are even more busy than usual, which makes me wonder if perhaps our feathered guests are anticipating a change in the weather as well.

The classical music playing in the background is beautiful, but it isn't doing a thing towards motivating me to get those things done that really need doing. Perhaps I should consider switching the station to classic rock instead?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Return of Saturday Night At The Movies!

Three days in a row! Can you believe it? I may get get back into the swing yet!

The sun seems to be following my example as well! Yesterday morning it was shining brightly. I was a bit disappointed to note the clouds taking over and the rather heavy rainfall in the late afternoon and evening hours. I was thinking that must mean the sun had bid us farewell for the foreseeable future. This morning however, I was delighted to see those lovely solar rays adorning our yard once again.The cats and the young'uns are basking in their favorite spots in the yard, as the birds enjoy their time in another part of the yard. What a beautiful way to begin a Sunday!

Last night we had one of my favorites for supper. There are a few meals I find myself eagerly anticipating the leftovers nearly as much as I do the original spread. The Thanksgiving Turkey is of course very high on that list. Second to that may well be the corned beef dinner. Last night we all enjoyed our favorite versions of corned beef leftovers. The young'uns both enjoyed thick slices of meat surrounded by vegetables piping hot from the microwave, while Pa and I enjoyed our own personal versions of corned beef sandwiches. Pa opted for a cold version, the meat piled high between slices of multi grain bread, while I treated myself to a grilled version with cheese on my lower calorie multi grain bread. Dessert for all was Blackberry pie. Actually it was Marionberry pie, so not quite so "Lincolnesque" as originally intended, but I'm pretty sure given the option, this modern version of the blackberry would have been his first choice as well. We're all looking forward to a second serving of dessert tonight.

Saturday Night At The Movies

It occurred to me I haven't done a family movie review here for a bit, so what better time than now to pick it up once again?

This week the kids chose Dr. Dolittle 2 for their viewing pleasure. I've seen reviews ranging from "terrific!" to "hohum". and have come to the conclusion that the "hohum" reviewers must be adults with no children in their lives to keep their imaginations soaring. This was a fun, imaginative film which we found nearly perfect for family viewing. Although there were a few thinly veiled more "adult" references which I find myself thinking are really unnecessary, they were easily overshadowed by the more family friendly good time humor. The kids were laughing throughout the movie, and both declared it a winner, even requesting a repeat viewing of the first movie in the series. I'm contemplating treating them to the original version instead, although Eddie Murphy does a fine job in the remakes.

Today, I hope to find some time between school prep and household chores for some knitting. Hopefully I'll have another photo to share in my flickr knitting album soon!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's A Start...

In keeping with my latest resolution, I am posting for the second day in a row! Are you shocked? Perhaps a little awed?

Well, you can feel free to pick your jaw up off the floor, as this isn't going to be a lengthy post. After all, my last update was late in the day... but I do have a bit to share.

After all the frustration in attempting to post photos here, I pretty much gave up on all things PC related last night. This morning however, I was at it again. I thought perhaps a good nights rest might yield better results from my PC, or Blogger, or whatever the problem may have been. Imagine my surprise when I determined that wasn't the case!

All was not lost though. I did manage to change my profile photo, and then took a deep breath, deleted the previous weekly photo and tried posting one of our Lincoln celebration pictures in it's place. It took forever, but it did work. Yes! Although limited, it was a success. I am now considering perhaps it is my slow dial-up connection that is causing me problems.

At any rate, as promised, I did update my Backyard View photo, although technically it's not a view of our back yard. If I can't figure out a way to post photos here again maybe I'll need to re-title that feature.... We'll see. Think I'll take Kimmi up on her offer of assistance before I do anything too very drastic. In the meantime, you have a preview photo of my latest flickr album to gaze upon ;-)

The sun came out at our house today, and the kids are making the most of it. From the sound of things the sun's visit will be a brief one so we're taking advantage of it while we can.

Hope you all are having a fantastic Valentines day !

Friday, February 13, 2009

School And Photos At Last

So far it's been an interesting new year. We've battled colds and flu, visited family, battled more cold symptoms, purchased a long over due new TV (Yeah! We're ready for the big change!), and new camera which we are quite happy with so far.

The new camera, a Canon A470 arrived in our home with great timing. The last two weeks we've been studying Abraham Lincoln in school. Yesterday, we celebrated his 200th Birthday finishing up our studies, and making hats. Today, with a little help from our local thrift store, and some dress -up clothing my sister sent Lindsay a few years ago, my children got all dressed up, and after being introduced by Lindsay, Nathan struck a Presidential pose and read the Gettysburg Address.

Needless to say, once the speech was done, and Ma was finished with the photo shoot, Nathan was more than happy to get rid of the Presidential garb ;-)

I also figured out how to work the new camera, and post pictures! Unfortunately, Blogger isn't being cooperative so,If you'd like to view images from today's big event(Today's photos are in the Homeschool album), or if you merely desire to see previous photos posted here, just click on the weekly Backyard photo to access my flickr. Yeah, I know. That needs updating too. Soon! I promise!

This evening we dined on the same foods Honest Abe dined on after his first Inauguration, Corned beef and cabbage (of course we added some potatoes and carrots to the mix) and for dessert...well...we were going to have blackberry pie, as Lincoln did, but we all were so full after dinner that the pie will just have to wait 'til tomorrow.

Between the illnesses (and yes, I took Bev and Dorothy's advice and made up a big, delicious pot of chicken and dumplings, starting with a whole chicken. It was wonderful and I'm sure it helped) and our busy school schedule I've been negligent in keeping up on posting here. I will try to mend my ways and post on a more regular basis, and I plan to stop by and visit you all very soon!

Happy Birthday this week to Abraham Lincoln, Darwin, and Oregon! And, of course, a very happy Valentines Day to all!