Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Post Christmas Mayhem

Well, we've had some craziness go around the house lately...
First of all, yes, the Christmas decorations are still up. (laziness)
Second, I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies soooo much!
And Third, this is what happens when you leave destructible things like the graham cracker houses lying around...
And yes, moments later, the silos were kicked over!  I put my foot through the barn, that was very, VERY fun!!!
And here is mine...
Hubby put his fist through the house and it went everywhere...it was AWESOME!!  A huge mess, but it was really cool to see it just go everywhere in pieces!  hehehe (evil laugh)...And it went from there...I broke down the garage and barn and we did the fence too!  Soooo fun!  It was kind of fun to break something as you walked past them, just in case we were bored.  And I just barely threw them away.  It might be fun to build some just to break them down, hehe...What a great end to the year!
Happy New Year Everybody!!!! :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lego Christmas Houses (10216 & 10222)

Well, its still near Christmas so I am going to say that it is still okay for me to post about Christmas. Nothing real special, but I bought some Lego Christmas houses last year and didn't get around to building them until the week or two before Christmas, and haven't gotten around to posting about them until now.  Man, I am not very good at this! :) That being said, I still have two houses to build not including this, but they will wait until we have our next Lego weekend or holiday.  

Okay, this first one is the Bakery, Lego set #10216.  Here is what the front of the instructions looks like.  
Here is how it is displayed in my home...yes, it is very dusty, I'm not very proud of that, but it is what it is.
Here is the storefront...there is a light in the shop so you can display all the stuff in the window. Yep, that's part of my hand! :)
 Here is inside the store...behind the oven there are a few loaves of French bread.
Here is a horse with a wagon and a tree...in case you didn't already see it..haha!
Here is a cute little skating rink.  Notice the boy standing by the bench with a camera in his hands, also notice the red legs "flailing" about because s/he was caught in a snow drift on the right side. Hilarious!
Here is the second set that I built, it would be the Post Office, set #10222.
 Here is the front...those little red post office boxes are so cute!
And there is a light in this one too!
This is my most favorite lamp post of all the sets I have built.  So cute!
Here is the inside of the post office, I'm really loving the tile floor.  It will stink to take up when I take the set apart but it looks really cool!
Here is the mail truck (I think)...
A bench by a snow drift with someone shovelling and a young boy walking his dog and stopping to give it a treat.
Here is the gazebo!  There is a guy playing what looks like a brass instrument and a guitar.  I love both instruments, they turned out sooo cool!!

Here it is displayed...and a couple of my Christmas decorations.  I also had lights draped around the room in honor of Christmas, it was really fun!
Well, that is it for the Christmas Legos this year, I really love them though!  They were really fun to build!  I still have some Harry Potter Lego sets that I haven't put together yet, but we haven't really taken much of a chance to play with much Legos yet.

School is starting here in about 3 weeks.  I am so excited to get back into school stuff, also really nervous!  I think it will be such a good thing though, so it will be worth it.  I recently ordered all of my books off of Amazon and am waiting for one more book.  I just want school to start already!  I know I'll feel differently after school has started but I'm ready to start a real job/career!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas!!!!  What a great day!  Hubby and I have been together for over 10 years now and on December 29th is our anniversary of the day we got engaged!  I can't believe we've been together for so long.  That first Christmas we shared, 10 years ago, we made graham cracker houses and decorated them!  They were so awesome!  Then, the next year or two we did them again and we haven't done them since. But this year was different.  We did them this year!  YAY! It was so awesome!

But first...A Christmas miracle!  For the first time in many, many years I received a surprise in a box of cereal!  This is my new (super duper awesome) Star Wars Pen!!  Yeah!!!  (Please disregard the gross carpet!)
And, in honor of an annual tradition I have shared with a good friend at work, I made a snow angel this year!  This was after the first good snowfall!  Before last weekend we had only had an inch or two, nothing that would make a real good snow angel.  Hubby took the picture and his finger made an appearance in all the pictures! :) hehe..
And on to the Christmas houses!  YAY!  I have 2 Christmas Lego houses that I built, but I haven't put them on here yet (obviously).  Next time hopefully...
This is Hubby's graham cracker house/farm.  We do not take this lightly...we do toys and everything too...its pretty awesome! Fyi, the stacked spearmints to the left of the tractor with the grain bin are his silos!

His turned out sooooo cool!!!
And on to mine...he finished before me, so while he was done and took a nap, I finished mine up. I know the snowman is out of place because there isn't any snow, but we had them so I decided to use them.  The marshmallow trees didn't want to stay standing up.

They turned out pretty awesome this year!!!  I have no complaints other than it took most of the afternoon! :) It was really fun though!!!
Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cookies, Pancakes and Pierogies

Well, it has been about 10 days apparently since I blogged last, which disappoints me but also surprises me because it feels like it has been a lot longer!  We had some freezing rain last night and are still having some at random times today.  Everything is so completely frozen and icy its rather scary!  I've been seeing the large snow plows driving by several times already just putting out loads and loads of salt on the roads.  I'm very glad I don't have go to anywhere today and can just stay home under a blanket and in front of a heater.

I was writing an email to a close friend about a half hour ago and saw something funny.
Apparently I'm having a conversation with a human.  As opposed to everyone else?  hehe.  By the way, it was human resources from a bank, funny though!

Earlier this week, on Monday, I wanted some German pancakes with buttermilk syrup, so I made some.
I made them a little bit different than I usually do and my pancakes weren't as alien as they usually are, which was awesome!  Anyone that makes German pancakes probably knows what I mean by "alien."  If you don't know what I mean, look at the edges on the left side, it usually comes up and over the pancakes a ton more than that, so this was amazing!  And the buttermilk syrup turned out pretty good too!  Here is the link for the recipe: GERMAN PANCAKES.  Yum!  It calls for a lot of eggs, which suits us pretty well as we are starting to swim in eggs now that more chickens are laying!

I also made my mother in law's recipe for sugar cookies!  I MEANT to half the recipe, but I accidentally got excited with the eggs and put in the amount for the full recipe.  So....I ended up with a TON of sugar cookies!  I'm not complaining...they are delicious!  Thanks mother in law!!!  :)
 I only had one casualty...(poor little guy hit the floor...)
Because there were sooo many, we decided to frost them as we went instead of frosting them all at once!  So, I don't have any pictures of that.

I also thought I would try my hand at making pierogies.  We usually buy Mrs. T's pierogies from Wal-Mart, but we thought it would be fun to try to make our own.  I used This Recipe mixed with some info from another pierogi recipe.  The other recipe said to add some sour cream and I thought that might be a good addition.  I also halved the recipe, but that still made me end up with about a billion pierogies...You'll see.

First, I made the mashed cheesy potatoes.  I used about 2 and a half pounds of red skinned potatoes and about 10 ounces of mild cheddar cheese, grated.  I don't know if you have heard of this, but apparently if you put a wooden spoon over a boiling pot it will not boil over.  In this case it is totally completely true.  I would have had quite the mess on my hands.  Observe...
 Needless to say, I boiled the potatoes until cooked, then drained them in a collandar.

Then you add the cheese and smash it all together...YUM!  I added some salt and pepper because potatoes like salt and it helped the flavor quite a bit.  And sour cream, like I said.  Why have I never made cheesy mashed potatoes before that day?
Then, I put the mashed potatoes to cool and later in the fridge to wait for when I was ready.  On to the dough.  I wasn't sure the actual process so I probably did it wrong, but I think it all worked out in the end.  Here's the dough after I put in the eggs...
Then I put in some water and some other stuff and kneaded it for 10 minutes.  The first 5 minutes went pretty quickly but after that I kept watching the clock.  I was pleasantly surprised it came out so smooth.  (I love my table!)
After I cut off the first piece of dough to roll into the rounds I noticed the dough was getting skin on it, so I put a moist paper towel over it while it was sitting waiting for me to deal with it.  That worked pretty well until the paper towel dried out.  Instead, I grabbed a microfiber rag and used that instead, it worked really well!
Here is my set up.  I grabbed my desk and brought it into the kitchen to work on.  My table doesn't have the right kind of edge to clamp the pasta roller to, so that is why I am using the desk instead. Here is my first run through, it worked pretty well! But it took me a little while to get into a groove.
Here's what it looked like when I was rolling them out...these are my first few.  
And....here is how many I ended up with after I was done.

It took me like 5 hours from start to finish.  Holy cow! I can understand why people only make them a couple of times a year and why they have friends or family help them.  But they were pretty good!  Not sure if it was worth it, but still really good! Here they are after they were boiled for 4 minutes...(Then we froze most of the rest of them.)
For dinner, we tried them a few different ways.  Hubby tried to deep fry one...
The dough was too thin, so I think next time I make them I would do double the thickness of the noodle, then it should be perfect.  Then we baked some, which turned out really good/perfect.
It was definitely an adventure!  And now I have a freezer full of pierogies to show for it.  Yum! Will I make them again?  I'm not sure...

Next up...Lego Christmas houses!  Yay!  I better hurry and build them though, only 5 days til Christmas! Or is it 4?...I dunno.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy Hatch Day! 6 months old!

Well, I just got back from seeing the chickens this morning and getting an egg before it froze. Yay! It is a whole 15° outside, sunny and windy where I'm living now.  It wouldn't be so bad but the humidity makes the cold even colder and you add the wind on top of that and its super bitey cold! We've been getting a lot of eggs lately, which is really great!  Most days we get about 3 or 4! I would think more of the bantam hens would be laying, but I think we only have one that is at the moment.  I guess when they are ready they will.  We are not in any hurry to be overwhelmed with eggs!  Currently we can keep up with the eggs that we get, thank you weekends and egg whites! We only eat a few eggs with a bunch of egg whites and then we cook up the yolks to give to the chickens.  That way they can get some extra fat in their diet so they keep warmer during this cold winter.  Here's what we did over the weekend.
I realized that boiling the yolks just like you do boiled eggs works way better than breaking them all up in a skillet, its a lot cleaner!

With the temperatures getting so cold we had to go and get a heated waterer.  I really hate this one, but it keeps the water from freezing, so it will work during the winter.
For a while it was leaking and getting the shavings all wet and that is not good for the chickens or the coop.  I later realized that maybe the spout you can fill the unit up with at the bottom of the base wasn't all the way on, so I think that solved the problem.  As you can see I sacrificed one of my turkey pans from Thanksgiving to prevent everything from getting wet.  It worked pretty well! Because we wanted the chickens to stay warm during the winter we decided to insulate the coop!
For the ceiling we used regular house insulation that came in rolls and wrapped it through the raftors and then we got some ape tape (the black strips you see up there) and used that to drape it the other way, so its double insulated on the ceiling.  On the windows we used foam insulation and cut it to size.  In the pic above you see the triangles of window peeking through, that was my cutting mistake...haha!  But it still works! :)  In the picture below on the bottom left of the window you can see that some of the chickens are already pecking at it...Argh!
 And the window in the door...
We all played around before it snowed, so here they are the day after hatchday.

 I can't believe how big the combs are on these leghorns...
Cute 'lil red...

We also had a fight in the yard a few weeks ago.  I didn't see it, but when I went to put the chickens away for the night I saw the aftermath.  I think that maybe Parker lost, he was on the floor resting and had lots of blood on his comb.  One of his eyes wasn't open either.  He is since healing, sort of, I think.  His eye is open, so that is good.  Here is a few days after the fight.
Here is Basil, he didn't fare so well either.
It looks like he might be getting pecked on too, you can see the somewhat bald spot behind his head...
I think some of them are getting frostbite too, so I imagine there might be some of that in there too. I don't know what to do about it though!  We have never dealt with frostbite before!  So we insulated the coop, I put 2 heat lamps out there, I don't let them out especially with the temperatures as low as they are and with snow on the ground.  So they are all cooped up and probably going crazy!  (See what I did there with the "cooped up"?  bwah ha ha! Sorry, couldn't resist.)  Anyway, I just don't know what to do about the frostbite.  I've read on chicken sites to put petroleum jelly on their combs, but I seriously doubt they are going to let me do that.  Especially the roosters, who I don't touch very much.  I know it is something we need to stop right away, but I am just so lost and frustrated about it!  When I went outside to see them a little bit ago, I gave them some bread and scratch, which they enjoyed.  I've also been putting electrolytes in their water.  We have the two heat lamps going but I could still see mine and their breath in the air...anyone have any ideas?