Friday, May 29, 2015

Foster Kittens

As you know we fostered some Pomeranian puppies earlier this spring, and they went on to be adopted.  Then the shelter had litters of kittens being dropped off on a daily basis, and they needed help.  So we took a litter of four feral kittens that had lost their mother.  They were four weeks old - three orange males and one tabby female.

Sadly, a day or two after we took them they became very ill.  Tests at the vet did not reveal anything.  I began calling it kitty ebola, for lack of a diagnosis.  I would come back from running an errand and the cage would be in a biohazard level 4 state.  Whew!  Those poor sick kitties.  We were very sad when one of them died.  They were on special food and medicines, but it just wasn't settling their little bellies.  Another one became very weak, so I rushed them back to the vet.

Still no answers, but since it was a Friday, the vet tech took them home for the weekend.  The weakest one had a feeding tube stapled to his head so that he could have constant nourishment.  We missed the kittens that weekend - they had already lost their feralness and had become affectionate and purry.

The constant feeding from the feeding tube worked, and the little guy rallied.  The next Monday, the three of them were able to come back.  I got to name them, so I named them after key influences in psychology:  Anna, Sigmund, and Hans. 

They still have some stomach issues, but they are doing much better.  I love seeing how playful they are.  Hopefully they will continue to thrive and find loving homes in a few weeks! 

Linked today with Feline Friday.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Art Show

Today is the last day of school.  It's not even a full day - they get out a couple of hours early.  A few weeks ago they had an end of the year art show.  Want to make a guess as to which boy created which project?

Okay, well it's kind of obvious Pierce did the robot fish, since his name is visible.  But the lion was done by Cort, and the buildings were done by Reid. 

They all had a fun school year, but are looking forward to the summer.  We already have a lot of activities planned, so it will be busy, as always! 

Readers, do you have much planned for the summer?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Chinese Almond Cookies Recipe

This past spring Pierce's class did a unit on Ancient China.  I bought the ingredients to make some Chinese Almond Cookies to send to his class.  Then I got really busy, and didn't get around to making them until two days after they'd taken their exam.  But I figure late cookies are better than no cookies?

I took a recipe that was Chinese and adapted it to make it more U.S.-friendly in terms of measurements, instructions, and ingredients.  It's fairly simple, and was a hit with the kids, as Pierce came back with requests from his friends for the recipe.

1 cup flour
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
30 Whole almonds 

Preheat oven to 325*.  Mix butter and sugar.  Add in almond extract and egg and mix well.  Add flour, baking soda and salt.  Once well mixed, form into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten with your palm.  Place one almond in the center of each and press down slightly.  Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on edges.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from baking sheets.  Makes approximately 25 – 30 cookies. 
Readers, what is your favorite cookie?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fish in the Closet and Favorite Places

1.  A friend of mine was giving away tickets to see the ballet of Cinderella, so I took my little dancer, Cort.  We had a splendid time (and he picked out his outfit himself - doesn't he look handsome?).
2.  Pierce recently had to take some sort of end of the year reading test.  He made a big deal out of going to bed early and having a healthy breakfast.  That morning, while eating breakfast, Paul said, "The big reading test.  Well that's exciting!"  Pierce said, in his deadpan voice, "It's not exciting.  It's serious."

3.  Paul was brewing up some wine and had it in a big contraption in his closet.  It made burbling sounds as it fermented.  Cort came down and asked if he could see the fish in our closet.

4.  The boys recently had a big debate over how big God is.  The twins thought God is small because he "lives in your heart".  Pierce thought God is big because if you add up all the hearts in the world, that makes for a really big God.  I think I need a philosopher on retainer for some of these questions the boys come up with.

5.  Recently I was trying to get Cort to calm down when he was particularly upset.  I was doing a little meditation with him and was telling him to imagine his favorite place.  You know - most people picture the beach or whatever.  I was like, "Can you see it in your mind".  He nodded, eyes squeezed tight.  "Where is your place?" I asked, curiously.  He responded, "Chick Fil A.  It is my favorite place.  I like their chicken nuggets.  And I like their French fries.  And I like their drinks". 

Readers, what is your favorite place these days?

Linked today with Willy Nilly Friday

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When Birds Make Poor Decisions

A few weeks ago we went to a bike rodeo and family picnic at the boys' school.  Upon arrival, we saw a small tree with caution tape around the borders.

This little bird laid eggs in the mulch.  Pierce said that on the morning announcements they reported it was a killdeer.  She was pretty agitated during the bike rodeo - hundreds of people walking by and bikes zooming everywhere.  She made quite a racket in her disapproval.

She laid her eggs right by a major walkway, so she must not have checked out the area beforehand.  I felt bad for her with all the activity going on.  I think it's nice the school is trying to watch out for her well being.

Hopefully she won't get so upset she abandons her eggs.  It does seem a strange place to lay them.  Maybe killdeer aren't the smartest birds on the block?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Reid's First Lacrosse Game

Reid is in the youngest age group for lacrosse, so his games were short and sweet.  The matches only last 10 minutes.  They call them playdates. So at one game, he might play three other teams, but each one for just 10 minutes or so.  Here he is doing what is called a 'face off' with another player.  There's a ball in the grass between them and they each have to try to get it. 
Paul and I still don't know much about lacrosse.  We've kind of figured out that there are three types of positions.  They rotate all the kids in and out of them during each game, so Reid gets a chance to play every spot.

However, Reid isn't totally clear on what he's supposed to be doing (and neither are we, so we can't really help him out).  But he seems to have fun running back and forth, even if it's always the older kids who end up getting the goals.

 I think that if he decides to play again next Spring, he'll fare much better because he'll have a season under his belt, not to mention having a little more size and maturity. 
Regardless, you have to admit he looks pretty cute in all his gear.  And he gets plenty of exercise running up and down the field.  That's win/win in my book!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Up High

Willie is such a climber.  I see him in strange places sometimes.  Like the roof of our little tack shed barn.  Or here, up on the balcony.  Good thing that light is screwed in well!

Luckily, he doesn't seem to get stuck when he's up high in trees and on rooftops.  Even by cat standards, he seems to be pretty athletic.

Readers, if you have cats, do they like to get in strange places?

Linking up today with Feline Friday

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hummingbirds and How to Make Your Own Food

We have a ton of hummingbirds this year.  I hung a feeder outside one of our slider doors.  All day long, they are drinking from the feeder.  I made my own nectar.  It's rather expensive in the stores, and the red dye is not good for the hummingbirds.  It is quick to make your own, and cheap as well. 

To make your own, just put four cups of water and one cup of sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil for two minutes, then let cool before filling your feeder.  This recipe makes more than my feeder holds, so I just put the extra in the fridge until it is time to refill.

The hummingbirds are attracted to red on the feeder.  If you don't have any red on your feeder, just tie a red bow on it, and they will come.

Readers, do you have any hummingbirds?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cat Wallet Sewing Kit Giveaway

Are you looking for a fun project to keep your kids busy this summer?  Shine Kids Crafts has a lot of fun craft kits for children.  I browsed through the site and chose an adorable cat wallet, which will be given away in a week, and the winner gets to choose from 3 different colors.  Here is some information about the kit:
* Cutting is not required. Patterns are pre-cut.
* The kit also includes:
needle, thread, instructions, pattern, zipper, etc. (Instructions are translated in English)
* Size: 11.5cm x 7cm

Aren't they adorable?  I'm thinking if you laid out all the pieces on a small baking tray, they would make a fun car activity on a long trip to the beach. 
Shine Kids Crafts has many other fun sewing projects, so be sure to check out her Etsy shop.

Readers, do you see any kits on her site that interest you?

To enter the giveaway for a chance to win the Cat Wallet sewing kit, just click on the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bring on the Moonshine

1.  A couple of weeks ago I ran my first race in 2 1/2 years.  It was small.  So I placed first in my age group and won a handy dandy moonshine jug.
2.  The twins finished their dolch word lists.  We have been working on them since October.  Each list is ten words long and there are 22 lists.  So they are reading simple books now, and we hope to expand that over the summer.

3.  Pierce got glasses, which you may have noticed from Monday's post.  He was getting headaches.  Turns out he had a bit of a lazy eye that was so mild we didn't notice it.  Hoping the glasses will help, so that he won't need to have surgery.

4.  The other day we were at Target and this older, rather hairy man was walking to his car, with his shirt off.  The twins started discussing this:
Cort, "Wow, look at all that hair".
Reid, "He sure is hairy".
Cort, "Do you think he is a werewolf?"
Reid, "He could be part wolf."
Pierce, deadpan, no humor, "Maybe he is just having a bad hair day."
I start cracking up.
Pierce, "Mom?  What's so funny?"

5.  Speaking of summer, I hit the book sale at the library and picked up a ton of fun kid's books for this summer, at 25 cents a piece.  In my house, there can never be too many books, and there isn't a kindle to be found!

Linked with Willy Nilly Friday.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Stranded in the Middle of Nowhere

A couple of weeks ago, we headed up a big mountain in search of a remote hike.  My brother and his family were following in their car.  Paul took our old 1993 Jeep (which was originally my grandparents') because the hike involved driving for three miles on fire road.  He said my car wouldn't make it. 

As we drove up the mountain, I said, "Paul, your thermostat is overheating.  Do you think we should pull over?"

"Hmmm.  It is.  Well, we'll pull over when we get to the top."

We got to the fire road and pulled over.  By this time the engine was smoking.  Antifreeze was pouring out on the ground.  There was a sizzling sound.

Between four adults, there wasn't a cell phone signal to be found.  And here was the view (those are the boys having foot races in the distance):

Paul thought he could drive the Jeep back down the mountain, get some water, and just keep giving it water until he got home.  I dug in my heels and said I wasn't riding in it until it was fixed, and neither were the boys.  I'm not very flexible when it comes to smoking vehicles.

So Paul and my brother went down in my brother's car to get help.  My sister-in-law, Meredith, and I went for a walk with the boys.  While Pierce was worried, none of the other boys were concerned at all.  In fact, they had a grand time marching on the dirt road.

We walked all the way to a fire tower, and then turned around and walked back.  Meredith and I were so busy chatting we didn't even realize how far we walked.  The boys were so busy marching and throwing rocks in mud holes that they didn't realize how far we walked either.
Dare I say....when you're five years old getting stranded is kind of fun?  In the end, my mom came and picked up me and the boys and took us home.  Paul had a friend pick up a new water pump and drive it up to meet him.  They installed the pump and the Jeep was just fine.  It could've been a much worse scenario.

I find the whole thing very ironic, really, considering this all happened right after our attendance at the Preppers/Survivalist festival. 

Readers, do you have any good stories about being stranded?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Preppers Festival in New Castle, Virginia

My brother invited us to go to a Preppers festival in New Castle a few weeks ago.  I like learning survival skills, and I enjoy learning about homesteading.  So it seemed like a fun festival to attend. 

It was a very warm day.  The festival was a little smaller than we had expected.  This was only their second year.

There were many booths with survival gear of all kinds.  We liked watching the demo for some firestarters, below:

I enjoyed going in the little seed store and browsing.  They had tons of heirloom seeds, as well as other sorts of homemade goodies.

We also visited the Artisan center while there.  These black yeti are all over in Craig County, and will run you about $50.  Who knew we would see Bigfoot at the Preppers festival?

Paracord bracelets are always a big hit with the boys.  Those were the only things we bought.  The food supply buckets were intriguing, but very expensive.  You can make your own for much, much less. 

Overall, it was a fun day, but I think next year we'll head to the kite festival instead! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Down by the River

Paul set up a hangout spot for the boys down by the creek.  Better to do this now, before it gets too snaky.

The boys found a baby snapping turtle that fit in their palm.  It was so cute.  Sadly, I didn't have my camera at the time.

There was a great deal of hammock swinging, wading, s'mores, and fighting over who got to spend the most time with the little girl who came over to play.

I found a few old Dr. Pepper bottles, and an old Busch bottle, that had never been opened and contained some very skunky looking beer.
It was a fun weekend!  But next time I think we will need to invite three little girls over.  Apparently, one just isn't enough.