Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Snippets (Baking, cleaning, crafting, and so forth)...

The big snowstorm we were to get this past Sunday into Monday never happened. I admit I was slightly disappointed. Really I had prepared my mind for lots of snow and spending a couple of days doing cozy, snowy day activities. I was out with my mother-in-law on Saturday, and I just couldn't believe how busy it was at a well-known large grocery store. There were absolutely no parking spaces in the parking lot. We saw a 4WD truck park on top of a snow mound (which, honestly, I would have resorted to myself if my vehicle would have been able to make it) because he couldn't find a spot in which to park. Why Western Pennsylvanians panic so much over a twenty-four hour snowstorm is beyond me. Perhaps I don't understand this because I do try to keep a well-stocked pantry that would last well beyond a week if need be. I don't know. It just amazed me. I was glad I could stay in the car while my mother-in-law ran in for medicine. I just kept driving around until she called to say she was out. I was happy to get out of that parking lot.

So instead of trekking through twelve-plus inches of snow on Monday (as was originally forecasted) we only had about three inches to maneuver through. And now there are only large patches of snow with large patches of brown grass dotting our yard since it has been in the 30's the last two days.

And the days? Well, the days are getting longer! This is one of the most exciting things about this time of year to me. I love the longer days of sunshine. I love that it's still mostly light out at six o' clock in the evening rather than pitch black by five. And since daylight savings begins this weekend, even longer days are just around the corner. 

Our days are still filled with school lessons, crafting, knitting, and reading. Lily is working on a latch hook pillow. This is her first time doing latch hook. I can remember doing these as a kid so it's fun for me to watch her work on hers.

I've also been trying to do a little more baking. Baking is hard for me sometimes, only because most baked goods are not substantially nutritious, nor even healthy. So I like to stick to things like granola (which I make with a greatly reduced amount of raw, local honey), breakfast cookies (I need to share this quick, easy, healthy recipe), and muffins that are made with nuts and flax seed and honey. It's just really hard for me to serve high-sugar, low-nutrition foods to my family with a good conscience. So I do a lot of adapting of recipes so they are lower in sugar and higher in protein and good, whole calories. 

I did break down and let the kids make rice crispy treats yesterday. My mom had found an organic crisped rice cereal that she had bought for me. And then I used Smart Balance (we do not eat butter here as I am lactose intolerant) and, of course, plain old sugar-laden marshmallows. But I do try to remind myself that life must permit for a little fun when it comes to food, and rice crispy treats every now and then is one of those fun kind of foods. Plus, the kids can make them completely independently. 

Lily continues with her sewing. I will share some pictures of her very first patchwork quilt. She just needs to finish tying the yarn knots on it. She's starting something new during today's lesson, but it's a secret. 

Ian spends a good portion of his day reading and designing with his Legos. He amazes me with what he can build with those blocks. He definitely has his dad's mechanical skills because my Lego creations always come out as  boring square buildings. Brad is going to find an old computer for Ian to rip apart. He's into those kind of things. 

We've spent some time these past few weeks planning some summer/fall trips we are going to take. And, of course, my mind constantly has garden planning running on a loop in the background. It is getting so close now. Close enough to start getting serious about it and maybe even serious enough to start ordering seeds. 

We're also in the process of figuring out this year's poultry plans. We are definitely purchasing more layers. We're down to twenty hens, and although they have produced amazingly well during this hard winter, we know that it's only a matter of time before their production slows. Hens typically only lay well for two years, sometimes even shorter. And we'd really like to get meat chickens, but I'm not sure we're up to that. It's SO much work. I just think back to the three or four my dad and I butchered two years ago and how long that took, and then I get intimidated. It would be wonderfully easy if we had one of those plucking machines, but they are so darn expensive and Brad doesn't currently have the time to build one from scratch. But that would be wonderful. Who knows, maybe we'll change our minds. 

I started spring cleaning last week. I remember the pre-children days of spring cleaning. Those were the days when the house would actually get a deep spring-cleaning in one to two days time. These days, well, to be honest, I'm not even sure that the house got a deep-cleaning the last two years with all of the things that were going on. I've pretty much long deserted the hopes of getting the entire house deep-cleaned in one or two days. Now I resort to doing things here and there, in the afternoons after our school lessons are done. I made up a three-page list, breaking down all of the cleaning jobs into small, manageable tasks that could be done in shorter time periods. Now, I just pick one or two a day (depending on how much time I have) and do those in the afternoon. So far it's working. I'm accomplishing things without feeling overly overwhelmed. Will I ever get everything on my list completely done? Probably not. But it's good to have a plan, and I'm going to do my hardest to get as much of it checked off as I can.

And with that, I must bring this wordy post to an end, as I'm most certainly not getting any of those things checked off while on here. 

Have a blessed day!


Pam said...

I love hearing about your days. It makes me cozy. I can understand what you mean about the snow storm not showing up. When you are ready for it, you get your heart into it, and then…nothing. I keep thinking if it is going to snow let it snow, and if not, lets have "warm and sunny". Your puppy is adorable. I made a bunch of rice crispy treats at Christmas time with brown rice cereal. I experimented with several different ideas trying to make a healthier version. … because I love them too. The best one was the one your are doing. I mean it tasted the best; I concluded the same as you; just enjoy it now and then. Have a great week. I too am looking so forward to longer days, so excited for spring.
Blessings, Pam

Rachel E. said...

We bought a table top plucking machine for much cheaper and it works fairly well considering you need to hold the bird.

As usual, I enjoyed your pictures.

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I am so excited that the days are getting longer! And after this weekend, it will be light until after 7pm! So excited. Your dog is too cute!

Lulu said...

lovely post..
have a lovely week..