Sunday, April 27, 2008


Our beloved rooster, Ace, was killed by a fox on Friday. He was an awesome rooster!!

He took such good care of his ladies. He always knew where they all were. If one was missing he started calling to her and rounded her up when he caught sight of her. He would peck at the ground until he found a tasty bug or worm. He would never eat it though. He'd stand over it and call to the hens to come and get it. When I called them over to the porch for some table scraps, he made sure all of the hens had their fill before he would take his first bite.

He was NEVER aggressive with his hens or with his human family and friends. He was so handsome and regal looking. I have no doubt that he died protecting his hens. I'm so sad that I let them out of the coop that day!

It is definitely open season for foxes around here!!!!

The mornings are so quiet without his beautiful crowing to bring in the day. I imagine we'll get another rooster, but I think it will be really hard to ever find a rooster as beautiful, gentle, brave and cool as Ace.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I've been looking forward to a quiet day at home today all week. We didn't have to leave the house until the afternoon for a lacrosse game. I pictured a quiet day getting tons of school work completed, doing all my long neglected housework, hanging the laundry out to dry in the beautiful spring breezes, baking bread, weeding the flower beds.

I still had the idea of this quiet day in my head for maybe the first hour of my morning. Then, the reality of the amazingly beautiful day that was unfolding sunk in.

I told the boys to put away their math books, packed some water and food, grabbed the dog and a blanket, called my friend Jennifer, and headed to the park for a hike and a picnic lunch.

Happily, Jennifer and her kids were game to set aside their plans for the day and join us.

We had an awesome hike and a delicious lunch. The dogs even got along. They may become friends after all.

After being sick all week, Billy was pretty tired out after our 1 1/2 hour hike. I think he was very grateful for the comfy blanket, soft grass, and warm sun. After a little rest he was revived enough to go play in his lacrosse game. He's the goalie and had a great game.

Monday, April 14, 2008


In my quest to make, from scratch, as much of our food as I can, I have been searching and searching for a recipe for crackers that was not too complicated and actually tasted like crackers, not thin bread.

I think I found it!!

I found it here . I used the 2nd recipe on the page. It was really easy. Took less than 1/2 hour to put together. I did make a change to the recipe. I used half white and half wheat flour. I may try all wheat next time and see how it works. I also cooked them a little longer. I just kept checking them until they looked crispy, but not too brown.

I didn't need to use the roller. The dough was very soft and spread just fine with my hands. I think I would keep spreading and make them just a touch thinner next time.

I cut them with a pizza cutter in roughly wheat thin sized squares.
These are sesame, but I am imagining all kinds of variations to try in the future: poppy seed, garlic, parmesan, cracked pepper, dill...


Thursday, April 10, 2008


Today was the big day. The day Billy has been eagerly anticipating for the last 6 months. Maybe even for the last 16 years!!

It was the day of his driving test to get his driver's licence. We've spent the last 6 months totaling up over 50 hours of driving experience. It was REALLY scary at first. Little by little though, I stopped fearing for my life as Billy gained confidence and ability. He's a great driver now.

He listened willingly and attentively to all of my lectures. He didn't roll his eyes too much as I told him story after story of accidents that other teenagers have gotten into. We talked about there being a good reason that teenage boys have such expensive car insurance. I've begged, pleaded, and prayed that he will be a cautious, relaxed, slow driver.

Now it's up to him.

This is him waiting for his test. I think there were definitely some nerves. Both his sister and his older brother passed their driving tests on the first try. The pressure was on!

No worries!!! HE PASSED! Billy is now an officially licenced driver.

Congratulations Billy! PLEASE DRIVE SAFELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008



I haven't shared our menu in a while, so here it is:

Monday - tacos, fruit salad

Tuesday - chicken corn soup (in the freezer from my mom) homemade wheat rolls I'll be going out for pizza with my book group!

Wednesday - lacrosse team dinner for Doug, Andrew, and Billy. Tommy and I will be doing our own thing

Thursday - sloppy joes on homemade wheat rolls, butter/parm noodles, sauteed zucchini

Friday - homemade pizzas

Saturday - baked chicken, rice, corn, steamed cauliflower

Sunday - beef and noodles, tossed salad

Monday - broccoli/chicken casserole, cheese muffins

Tuesday - chicken spaghetti, caesar salad. This is an amazingly delicious casserole recipe from an awesome blog. Here's the link if you'd like to try it yourself

Wednesday - Lacrosse team dinner - this week Tommy and I will be helping to serve the teams and coaches - we'll all eat there

Thursday - bbq beef sandwiches, roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli

Friday - homemade pizzas

Saturday - grilled hamburgers, baked potatoes, green beans

Okay, now for the grape jelly. I've been making our grape jelly for years. I know, it's not very expensive to buy, but I just love to make it myself. I figure I'm doing my little part for the environment too, not continuing to buy new jars of jelly. I just reuse whatever empty jars I have in the cabinet. It really is a very easy thing to make. I use the recipe from Hillbilly Housewife.

It doesn't take much time or many ingredients. Grape juice, sugar, powdered pectin.

Gather the ingredients and then it's just a matter of cooking it together and boiling for 1 minute. Definitely not rocket science!
The results are so yummy, and pretty too! Absolutely divine on a piece of toasted homemade wheat bread for breakfast. In fact, that's where I'm going now. Breakfast time.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


No, I didn't leave town. I haven't been on vacation. My computer's not broken. No one is ill. I haven't even been particularly busier than usual. I just took an extended, unannounced break from blogging. I'm actually quite surprised at how missed my blogging seems to have been. I've gotten so many calls, e-mails, and personal requests to hurry up and start blogging again. I'm really touched! Here I was feeling all boring and uninspired. I guess boring works for a lot of people.

I've been kind of agonizing over how to start again. Should I recap all that's happened in the last 3 months? Should I pretend I never took a break? Should I just jump back in? This last option was Doug's advice, so here I am.

I may end up sharing a couple of pics of the highlights of the past couple of months, but not today. Today, we're talking about TROUT.

Today was opening day of trout season in a neighboring state. Doug and the boys met my brother, Jimmy, and his son Nathan at the stream at 6:30 this morning. The weather was perfect (I think. I was still in bed.) At least it was perfect when they came home at 9:30 after each of them caught their limit of 6 fish.

We bagged up fish from each of their stringers for dinner tonight and froze the rest. We figured on inviting Nanny and Poppop to dinner. Hannah was here as well as Billy's friend Richie. We ended up grilling 15 fish. Aren't they pretty?

My mom and Nana always made homemade french fries with fresh caught trout, so I set about peeling, slicing, pre-frying, frying and salting 5 pounds of potatoes. They were so good. Totally worth the 2 hours that they took me to make!

I steamed up some delicious green beans and made 2 pans of corn bread. My mom stopped by the farmer's market and bought some delicious cole slaw from an Amish stand there. She also made homemade peanut butter tandy cakes and a pineapple rice pudding that my grandfather used to make.

It really was the most delicious dinner we've had in quite some time. This food brings back such wonderful memories for me. It wasn't just the food though. The company was wonderful too! I'm so happy that Doug and our boys have continued our family's tradition of trout fishing.