Here we are…A New Year!

Whoa!  As wonderful as 2013 was for us, it was by far the busiest I think we’ve ever been in our business and in our personal life.  It isn’t until we look back that we see exactly where we’ve been and what we’ve done.  I am so very thankful and feel very fortunate that we were able to accomplish all that we have this past year…without any mental breakdowns (although we were close!)

This New Year, my goal is to visit here more…to write more, for me and for the kids.  To really put forth a great effort and push on their schooling as we have a bit to catch up on and the allow them to be kids through it all.  I want to have more field trips, less craziness and more calm.  One can hope at least. 😉

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Before…

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During…

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After… (Play Area)

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After… (School and Office Area)

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After…(School Area with Magnet Wall)

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After…(Office)

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After…(New Stairs)

We’ve finally finished (well, mostly) our new school/play/office and added a bathroom.  It was a ton more work than we thought it would be, I blame HGTV for that.  They can redo and entire house in an hour…why can’t we put an addition on our house in 3 weeks…seemed like a no brainer to us!  As we found it, it doesn’t work that way and I thank the contractor that raised the roof, so to speak, for not laughing out loud in our faces for even suggesting it.  His portion was done in 2 weeks which left us to do sub-floors, wiring, framing,  bathroom, floors, insulation, sheet rocking, taping, sanding, mudding…blah, blah in a week.  Well, lets just say that 6 months later we are just finishing up.  We had some family help along the way.  My father in law was with us for a 2 week stint that turned into 5 weeks. I do believe that him being here saved our marriage from ruin as the Hubs and I don’t do projects together very well, or we didn’t until this rather large project came to be.  His knowledge was invaluable and I learned so much!

So here we are!  The best part of all of this, was that it all happened so fast that there wasn’t much time to think “what the hell are we doing, we don’t know how to do that!”.  I watched a lot of you tube to learn and the rest we figured out.

 We haven’t planned any big projects for this year, thankfully,  but may add a little something to the farm…at least we are talking about it any. 😉

Fortunate are we!!

Last Month we were fortunate enough to be part of a home school group that attended a class on the weather atop Mt. Washington and rode the Cog Railway up to the summit of Mt. Washington!  What a blast!  The kids are still talking about it and the experience of being on top of the world (at least in our little corner of it, anyway).    What a cool experience!  I remember going up as a kid, but I remember it being waaayyy scarier.  They have made giant leaps in the form of safety and new equipment.  As a kid, I felt like we could slip back at anytime and plummet to the bottom, which is how I thought I’d feel this time, but the ride was nice, very nice and felt safe.  The conductors were very knowledgeable and we learned about the history of the mountains and how some great folks worked tirelessly to preserve the areas wilderness.  We learned that the first building was built on the top of the mountain in 1852!  I can’t even imagine!

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And finally VERY excited to have the schoolroom coming along!!  It has been a long process and we’ve had to learn a lot.  At this point, I don’t see anymore additions to our home in our future…but we’ll chat when all is said and done and we can move everything upstairs. 😉

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We are hoping that we can get it all finished within the next few weeks and finally have everything back in their places….. 🙂

A litte bit of Mexico…

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Perhaps the hubs was longing for our honeymoon to Mexico…Perhaps he looked around and saw nothing in the house to eat??

Anyway…

When the man is home on a weekend that we aren’t running around…then he is cooking Which is fine by me!!.   Enter the homemade corn tortillas.

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As I finished my own work, he was busy mixing and resting dough.  He had his Sous Chefs by his side and together they were rolling while the littlest Sous was pressing.  My little guy was so incredibly proud of himself that he showed me each and every tortilla before they were cooked.  Which left me getting very little work done, but hey…them be some yummy tortillas made by a super kid!  I am very lucky. 🙂

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While Mj pressed, Mark cooked.

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This went on for a good while until we had a giant stack of warm, salty, corny (he, he) tortillas.

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We ended up with tostada like yumminess topped with grass-fed beef, our own canned beans, organic corn, organic salsa and the BEST sour cream out there…Wallaby!

 Seriously, this stuff is almost drinkable!

Anywho…Here is the link to the recipe that was used.  We were able to find organic masa harina too!  NO GMO corn here…ever! 😉

Give it a try…It is super fun for the kids too!

This Week…

This Week….

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~We are: learning about George Washington

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~We are: Drinking lots of coffee due to mid-night continuous wake-ups

~We are: Catching up on lots of work

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~We are: Falling way behind on laundry

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~We are: Wishing for spring but watching the snow fall

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~We are: Remembering where we were last year with piggie plans

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~We are: Planning for  this years piggies!!

~We are: Wanting a nap, very badly

~We are: Feeling pretty dingy for slipping on the ice while always preaching of “paying attention”

~We are: Wishing that the cleaning fairy would come over and do her magic

~We are: Thankful for the craziness of life and young, relentless spirit of these little ones

 

Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit…..

Beans!  Beans! Beans!

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From blazing saddles to kids songs, if you are a man or under the age of 14, beans usually bring one thing to mind..

The Fluffies!

That is what we call a gaseous emission around here, well mostly.  My son is 6 so anything related to the bum is hilarious AND the talk of it is never-ending. 😉

Now, if you are an old mom like myself, you think of the nutrition a value of  beans.  Cooked, dry beans are low in fat, high in fiber and packed with protein. Dry beans provide a rich source of vitamins and minerals as well as plant phytochemicals.

So, take that Fluffies!

The other good thing is that my kids love them and I love serving the babes beans, that is until all of the BPA in metal can linings appeared.  When I found out about BPA, I went out and bought a ton of dried beans knowing that I could get around it all this way.  Except that you need to soak dried beans overnight if you want to eat them without breaking your teeth and who has time for that!?!  I am usually the one pulling frozen beef out of the freezer 30 minutes before dinner.  Organized for meal times, I am not!

So, since I am still afraid of the pressure canner that we bought and I had a closet full of dried beans and a husband that is willing to try anything, we set off to can some beans.

I had read how to do it and even asked a very helpful Facebook friend but was still leery about how they would turn out.  There were opinions about soaking first, not soaking, partial soaking, blah, blah, blah.  We were feeling lazy and impatient so we just put the dried beans in the jars.

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We canned black, kidney and garbanzo beans

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Black bean were treated to Mexican inspired spices, Kidney beans were left plain for soups and garbanzo got an assortment of herbs.

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We topped some with stock and some with water.  Some with herbs and some with spices.  Capped them all and into the pressure cooker they went.  After about 1 hour, we began to smell the spices and I was convinced that one had busted inside that was going to set off a chain reaction of events that would send the pressure canner careening into the air taking off like an inflated balloon that you’ve mistakenly let go of while blowing it up, zipping around the ceiling until it crash landed in the middle of the kitchen.

 Well, thankfully that did not happen. 🙂 Phew!

All of the jars were sealed, none broken and we had lots of fast and convenient organic beans to grab for any meal.  The best part, they are less than half the price of the already canned beans at the store and it took us less than 15 minutes to prep and a little over an hour to process, set it and forget it style (unless you are like me, cowering in a corner waiting for the explosion).

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 Pardon the goo on the jars, they were the bottom row in the water…

Now we have a closet full of beans, ready to eat!  I feel like I go to them more as an option for dinners because they are ready to go, easy and done.  I’ve even popped open a jar of chick peas to munch on… They are soooo good!

This is how we did it.

In each of the 12 oz jars we put 1/2 cup of beans, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and whatever herbs or spices that you want in them and filled the rest of the way (leaving 1 inch at the top for expansion) and give a quick stir. Cap those babies and set them in the pressure canner.  Follow the directions on the canner for water levels.  Start ‘er up and let ‘er rip for about 70 minutes. Then let your canner de-pressurize naturally.

Pull those bad boys out (with canning tongs of course) set them on a clean dry towel to rest over night.  In the morning put them away.  Simple as that!

We’ve flown right through the jars that we made, so it’s time to do it again!

** I found that in the 12 oz jars, I would put a little less beans, the really sucked up the liquid.  I might also try a really quick par boil before too…I bet that would help in pre-sucking up the liquid. 😉

I’ll keep ya posted…

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Wheat pizza with salsa, cheese and a can of our beans with frozen corn added to it.

Quick and yummy Mexican pizza!!