Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Princess' 1st kidding

Our little blue-eyed Princess kidded yesterday with two darling doelings! They are amazingly precocious and adorable. Of course, all baby goats are adorable...
If you would like to see how a goat is born, visit our goat blog for a pictorial of her birth. But be warned, it's not for the squeemish!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jill's Junior Prom

A few weeks ago, Jill came to me with this picture and said she wanted her prom dress to be something like it. She had found the dress on and fell in love with the wrapped bodice, vintage adornments, and beaded lace overlay. "You can make it, right mom?" course I can!

So, we went pattern shopping and the closest we found was this...well, it's a start anyway!

I actually took Jill out of school for a day to shop for the fabric! We were running out of time to order fabric, so we had to know if we could find something in town. Thankfully we did! The cameo pink silk dupioni came from Mesa Sales, and the embroidered and beaded netting came from JoAnn's.

Now, I have a lovely sewing room complete with a cutting counter thanks to my darling David, but when it comes to cutting out more than 2 yards we use the living room floor. We laid out the 8 yards of silk and bravely made the first cut...

A day of sewing and the basic dress was ready. Now for the hard part - the wrapped bodice and sleeves. I don't have any pictures of the process, I was way too focused on figuring it out to take any! We actually put Jill in the dress, and wrapped, pinned, marked and cut the pieces on her, then took them off and sewed and gathered. It took about 5 times longer and 3 times more thought than I expected! This was the most challenging sewing I have ever done!

We were finally getting close to finish, but hadn't found the jewels for the bodice pieces yet. Lucy and I had hunted out the Mesa antique stores but hadn't been inspired by anything. Luckily, our saving angel came in the form of our dear neighbor, Cecilia Basilotto! She had been watching out the window during dinner, and when Jill never came out she began to wonder what was going on. So over she came, found us up to our necks in last-minute sewing, and said "Come with me Lucy, I have just the thing!" She showed Lucy an amazing box of vintage jewelry and they chose the perfect brooch for the top, and found a bracelet with little jeweled roses that we took apart for the other pieces. It turned out perfect!!

When Jared arrived her hair, makeup, and long gloves were ready - but no dress!

Jill pinned on his boutonniere (she had made it herself from roses and jasmine in our garden).

Finally! The dress was done (not without more drama - the zipper broke as we were putting it on - I hate those nylon invisible zippers!! We actually had to sew her in to the dress! Next time - buttons). Jared gave her a sweet wrist corsage and they were ready to go at last.

Out the door! They had a great time at the dance - Jill's dress was the prettiest, of course!! She was so happy and so beautiful!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

I had thought we would celebrate the day by finishing the work in our garden - moving the rest of this compost pile and planting the beans and lettuce. But, things don't always work out as planned. Instead, I spent the morning cleaning out goat stalls so that Princess doesn't catch us unprepared (she isn't due until May 4th, but she's enormous!) And then I spent the (too hot to work outside anyway) afternoon finishing the tidying of my sewing room so that I can get started on Jill's Prom dress. (More about that later!) Don't even ask about homeschooling! Ok, so they did both do some really nice reading aloud, found and identified a caterpillar, discoverd hummingbirds in both the front and back yards, and they helped take care of our poor goat, Dancer, who hasn't been feeling well and needed some extra love. So if it seemed that it was just an ordinary day, well, I can smile with the realization that every day is Earth Day around here!

Monday, April 20, 2009

County Fair Fun!

This was our sixth year as a family showing our animals at the Maricopa County Fair. It was a very fun and exhausting week, but well worth the effort. We took 14 goats, 5 chickens, and our 2 turkeys, and they all won ribbons!
After the goat show on Friday we all took some fun time and rode the rides. David loves this time of the fair as he can ride all the scary rides with the kids. I usually just do the tame rides with Elsa as I am really, no I mean REALLY not in to being spun, dropped, and turned upside-down!

Jesse's only entry in the goat show was his LaMancha doe, Pirouette. He bottle-raised her from a baby when her mama rejected her last spring. If you go to our goat blog you will see him feeding her on the blog banner. She won first place in her class of senior yearlings.

Here are all our goat ribbons! The biggest excitement of the day was our little Merci, who took Grand Champion Senior Doe and Grand Champion Nigerian Dwarf! Hers is the big black and gold ribbon.

Remember our lovely Tom Turkey? Well here are all the prizes he brought home!! I guess I'm not the only one who thinks he's a handsome devil! He won a blue ribbon, Champion Turkey, Class Champion, and a trophy for Champion of all other fowl. He actually won more awards than any other bird at the fair!!
I will have more about the goat show on my goat blog just as soon as I get the rest of the pictures from my mom...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Birds

Robin and Elsa are totally fascinated with "their" new
Snow White Trenton Racing Homer Pigeons:
"Silk" and "Sugar Plum"
Thank you Ryan for adding to our menagerie! We love them!
Now to build an aviary as beautiful as these birds...

Easter Basket Swap 2

Real quick, because I really need to get over to the county fair...but Missy keeps bugging me to post the pictures of what I sent for the Very Vintage Easter Basket Swap! So here it is:

All packaged up and ready to go!

I made the linen emroidered bunny towel, framed Faith picture, pom pom bunny and chick, vintage easter art tags. The German paper mache egg is filled with Desiree's favorite Easter treat - Hershey's candy coated milk chocolate eggs.
Desiree did receive her package in time for Easter and reported that she loved it all!
Thanks Desiree for being a great partner, and thanks Heidi for hosting such a fun swap!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Carrot Cake

My Mom requested that I post the recipe for the altered carrot cake cupcakes I made on Easter. They were made with 100% whole wheat flour, and no sugar - just applesauce and agave nectar.

3 cups packed shredded carrots
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups finely ground (pastry style) soft white wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup raw amber agave nectar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers. (this recipe made 36)
2. Combine carrots and lemon juice in a bowl, set aside.
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together. Beat in agave nectar and applesauce until blended. Mix in carrots. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla, walnuts, and raisins. Pour in to muffin tins.
4. Bake for 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven and move cupcakes to wire cooling rack.
They are really more like carrot muffins, and would probably be great for breakfast with a smoothie. I think if I were to experiment again I might throw in 1/2 cup yogurt for a finer texture and more moisture. I did frost them with cream cheese frosting which I made by beating together 16 ounces of cream cheese and 2/3 cups agave nectar.
The little bird nests are not at all healthy! I made them by melting 6 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 package of large marshmallows, and stirring in about 3 cups of toasted coconut. When it was all still warm I molded it into the little nest shapes and filled with jelly beans.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ostheimer Easter

Every year we put a few new Ostheimer figures in the Easter baskets. Here are the ones from this year. All the kids love these - even the teenagers! I think their warmth and beauty and spirit are so special. I love having natural and beautiful toys for the kids for many reasons, but one of the best is that looking at them brings joy to everyone. It is almost like they are playing with art, and when the toys get left laying around it is a beautiful mess rather than an annoying one!


One of the fun things about living on a mini-farm is having baby poultry for Easter. This year I put duck eggs and silkie eggs in the incubator, timed so they would all hatch by Easter morning.

Here they are just coming out of the eggs. We let them dry in the incubator for a few hours before we take them out. The timing was just right this year, all the babies pipped their shells Friday night/Saturday morning and were all out of the eggs by Saturday night. They were able to dry and fluff up all night in the incubator, and by the time the kids were done with the egg hunt Sunday, the chicks and ducklings were ready to be put in a basket and brought out to be loved!

Hmmm, this little chick has a pompom chick buddy!

Sweet little ducklings in an Easter basket lined with an old grackle nest.
Here is Papa duck and the two mamas - Jude is the pretty grey mallard cross, and Jemima of course is the white appleyard.

Easter Egg Hunt

We have church at 8:00 a.m., so this year our hunt was delayed. The kids all popped up at 6:30 (normally on Sunday mornings we have to pry them out of bed) excited to see what was in their baskets. After church we were such mean parents and made them wait until after brunch (hot cross buns, easter eggs, bacon, goat milk). Daddy went outside and called the Easter Bunny, we closed the curtains and huddled in the living room, and finally it was time!!

The "Easter Egg Warriors" are ready for the hunt.

Some of the eggs were hidden really well. Each child had 16 eggs to find, color coded so they knew which to pick up. It actually took about 1/2 an hour to find them all! The last egg was Robin's, I wish I had taken a picture of it. It was a shiny gold egg hidden up in a branch of a peach tree. Looking up it reflected everything around it, so was very hard to see!

It was a beautiful warm, sunny afternoon. Funny, the day before was cold and rainy. Everyone stayed outside to inspect the contents of their eggs - chocolate, stickers, tiny animals, tops, etc...

David got in to the fun by showing the boys how to toss a chocolate egg up as far as you can throw it and catch it in your mouth!

And I just laid back in the grass and listened to happy kids, birds, and wind in the pine trees.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jesse!

I am now the mother of three teenagers! Jesse's 13th birthday was yesterday, and I have to say that I am quite happy with my teenagers. They are good kids and really a ton of fun!
As it was Good Friday, Jesse had his birthday off of school. He started out the day with blueberry and raspberry muffins (the traditional hot cross buns are being delayed until Easter Morn this year.) and opening his presents. He spent the day playing his new game, then had some boys over for dinner and cake, "Apples to Apples" (hilarious with 13 year old boys!) and an "outdoor adventure game". As soon as it was dark, the boys divided in to groups and were dropped off at the nether ends of the neighborhood. The challenge was to return back to the house by 8:00 without being spotted by Jill and Uncle Jared and his girlfriend Jenny. Everyone came tumbling in laughing and mostly triumphant with tales of bravery and narrow escapes and ready for cake and ice cream right on schedule. It was a great day!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Basket Swap

Well, I bravely participated in Heidi Devlin's of Foxgloves, Fabric and Folly "Very Vintage Easter Basket Swap". Here is what my partner, Desiree, sent me... A whole box of fun Easter goodies! Ornaments, lavender soap and spray, Mary Engelbreit notepads & magnets, cute fabric pom pom pen made by Desiree, German Easter eggs....
A darling bunny candy dish filled with my favorite chocolate malted milk eggs (these have always been the "taste" of Easter for me!)

A sweet vintage hanky (how did she guess?) and cute little chick ornament she made out of salt dough.
Thanks Desiree! You were a great partner!

(I will post pictures of what I sent Desiree just as soon as she receives it...)