Friday, March 23, 2012

Cooped Out

I promise, this won't turn into a blog about chickens, but at the moment I am a little obsessed so cut me some slack. I had planned to write a post today about chicken coops...I even uploaded some pictures of what I was hoping for, in terms of what Steve was planning to build for me. He can build anything and is very handy, so the plan was for him to get started in a couple of weeks, as the girls will need to be moving outside toward the end of April. However, I have been checking coops out on Craigslist for the past couple of weeks, too. The cute ones sell instantly, and the scary-looking coops are way overpriced and not any place I'd want the girls to live. This morning I was up at the crack of dawn and decided to pay a visit to Craigslist, and right at the top was this little beauty:

So, so cute, and with a flower box at the window, even! This is very similar to what Steve was going to build, minus the run. I knew it was probably already sold, but waited patiently for 8 a.m. to roll around and thought I would give a call anyway. Lo and behold, it hadn't sold yet, so I snatched it right up. We will go pick it up in the morning. Steve will still build a run to attach to it, so the girls can peck away outside and still be safe. I think it is going to be the perfect home for them! What makes this coop even better (to me, anyway) is that a father and son built it together, their first little construction project. Love it.
When I got up this morning, I discovered the chicks had managed to spill their waterer in the night, therefore soaking half of their cardboard brooder. I had to work fast to scoop out all the bedding and convince them to huddle in the opposite corner of the brooder while I turned up the heat and tried to dry it out. I also doctored up a new system for their waterer so they will stop filling it with pine shavings (their favorite pass time). Take that, crafty chicks! I also tried giving them some plain yogurt this morning, and it was pretty funny. They walked through it a few times but wouldn't eat it. Finally I thought to smear some on the wall of the brooder, and they practically pecked each other to death trying to get to it. Good for getting some good bacteria into their developing little guts.

Griff and I have lots of chores to get to before the weekend starts, so off we go!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Additions

I have recently taken the plunge and decided to try my hand at back yard chickens. I am so happy! I have wanted to keep chickens for two or three years now, and this year I finally did it. I had fun reading up on back yard chickens and deciding on which breeds I'd like to have. I couldn't believe how much information was out there! The other hitch in my giddy-up has been the fact that we live within city limits. Come to find out, our city did not have an ordinance in place for back yard chickens, but just a couple of weeks ago it was finalized so I went ahead and got my chicks.
Nan. She is the calmest and sweetest. I could hold her all day! She is a Dominique.

Bertie is a close second to Nan. She is also very sweet and doesn't mind being held at all. She is also a Dominique.

Stella. As you can see, she's not exactly excited. Stella is a Buff Orpington. Buffs are considered the "wimps" of the chicken world, and therefore they are supposed to be very docile. I have not found this to be true yet, as my Dominique's are way more laid back than my Buffs. We shall see!

Butterscotch is the bossiest of the bunch. She squawks when I pick her up, and even flaps her wings, but eventually she calms down.

The girls in their brooder. The lighting is weird because they are under a red heat lamp. They need it to be nice and toasty. Tomorrow they will be two weeks old, and are definitely entering the "tween" phase of life. They are about 2/3 feathers and 1/3 chick fluff right now, so they look pretty weird.

One more picture of Nan because she is so darn cute. When I hold her, she even closes her eyes and dozes off.
They will be living inside, in their cardboard box, until they are at least 6 weeks old and fully feathered. A coop still needs to be built, and I am excited about that! If all goes well, they should start laying eggs in September! Between baking and general egg-eating, I go through about 2 dozen eggs per week, so it will be wonderful to be getting those eggs from my own chickens that I am raising myself.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Uniforms and Leprechauns

It is the weekend I am very happy about that. This week kind of sped by in a big blur. Lots going on and lots to catch up on, so I am declaring today a "low-key" kind of day so that I can get caught up on a few things. Steve has a big meeting to go to on base today (thus, the class b's in the picture above) so we are on our own. Would like to get all of my big chores done today so that we can just have some fun tomorrow.

I have to say, I love uniforms. It sure is a good thing I married an Army soldier. I get my very own man in uniform every day! I especially like the dressy uniforms though. Steve isn't required to wear a uniform like this hardly a matter of fact I have only seen him "dressed up" for our wedding, and for the Army balls we have been to in the past...sure hope they have one planned for this year, it has been a while! This is the first time I have ever seen him in this particular uniform - - in the past you may recall seeing Army soldiers in a green coat/shirt/tie - - well now it has been changed to a white shirt with blue pants/black tie. If he has to be super-dressy, he adds a blue jacket to it, but for today, no jacket. I think he looks pretty snazzy.

The boys aren't up yet, so I made sure to tip over some chairs, put some green food coloring in various places (the toilet bowl being their favorite) and scatter some gold coins around the house. They would not be pleased if there weren't any signs of leprechaun mischief when they got up. I think we will bake a St. Patty's dessert of some sort today, and I am definitely making a boiled dinner for this evening...I look forward to corned beef brisket every year for St. Patrick's Day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crabby Patty Cupcakes

I wish I had gotten a better picture of these but alas, I did not. If you do not like Spongebob Squarepants, then you probably will want to skip this post. If you know anything at all about Spongebob, then you know what a Crabby Patty is. I'm afraid my children love Spongebob, and I have to admit that I have a bit of a thing for him myself. I can't help it. I don't know what it is...maybe I was just worn down over time, by repeated episodes (again and again and again) over the past few years. I'm aware that people have pretty strong opinions about ol' Spongebob, but it is my opinion that there are things far worse (in the form of cartoons) that they could be watching on television. Anyway, I am coming clean - - I love Spongebob and Patrick, and I really, really, really love Gary. I mean, how can you not love a snail that meows?
Anyway... I recently saw this recipe in a magazine and knew that I had to make them. Very simple...yellow cupcakes, which you cut in half after they have cooled. Then, you bake a pan of brownies (13x9 pan) and cool completely. Then cut circles using a 2 1/2 inch circle cutter. The cupcakes comprise the hamburger bun, the brownie is the hamburger patty. Then, take a container of vanilla frosting, divide it among three small bowls. Tint one portion green, one red, and one yellow. Put each portion into a Ziploc bag, and cut a very small opening at one corner. Put a brownie patty on top of one of the cupcake bottoms, then squiggle green around the edges, followed by red, then yellow. Top with cupcake. If you like, you can lightly brush the top of each cupcake with some Karo syrup, and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
I had fun making these, and the the boys just loved them. Even my big boy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sawdust and Nails

Steve and I are becoming a couple of Scouting nerds. Camden joined Cub Scouts last year and I volunteered to be a Den Mother, but unfortunately spent most of the year floundering because I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. Then, I kind of got shanghaied into doing it again this year, but the good news was that Steve had recently returned from Iraq. Even though Steve was a Cub Scout drop-out himself, it seems that in his middle age, he's become quite obsessed with the whole Scouting scene. He breathed a healthy dose of excitement and enthusiasm into the whole gig, and I have to say that now I am having all kinds of fun being a Den Mother. My little den of Bear Cubs are learning, thriving, and are well on their way to earning their Bear badge. Hooray!
Today, Steve took part of the afternoon off from work to be our special guest in instructing Achievement #20 - Sawdust and Nails. He planned to build toolboxes with the boys, and spend the last couple of days preparing the activity and pre-cutting a lot of the pieces so that we would be able to get them put together during our meeting time.
It was a huge success and I really think all of the boys were super-excited to have made their own tool box. I hope they will all have their tool boxes for years to come and will remember the fun we all had this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back to Life

Well my goodness, it has been a while. I am happy to report that I finally have a new laptop. I am still trying to figure it out but at least I have figured out enough to be able to post something to my blog. I really hope that I can get back into the swing of regular writing. I have realized over the past three months that I have miss keeping a record of what we are up to. I spent some time going through blog posts from years passed and am so happy that I have so many memories written down. Sometimes I will go through a dry spell and will think that maybe I don't want to have a blog anymore, but now I know that I do. So, onward!
The above picture is from this past weekend. My mom flew out to Idaho to watch the boys for us so that Steve and I could attend a Strong Bonds marriage retreat in McCall. This is offered by the Army and we have wanted to attend for a long time, and it finally worked out that we could. The retreat consisted of a bunch of great sessions, dinner, and ample free time to do some things on our on. During our free time on Saturday, we rented a snowmobile and rode to Bergdorf Hot Springs. It was such a fun adventure! I have now been to three different hot springs and Bergdorf is definitely my favorite.

The gigantic pool you see behind Steve is actually the hot spring...I think the temperature was around 101 or so. It was also about five feet deep. I have only ever been in very shallow hot springs so this was great. This was after our soak and we were getting ready to get back on the snowmobile for the 20-mile ride back to town. It was great to do something out of the ordinary (for us) and we really had a good time. The entire weekend was wonderful and I know we both learned a lot. I am so thankful to my mom for coming all the way out here for us. She and the boys packed in a ton of quality time together while we were away!
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