Sunday, December 26, 2010

Quote of the Week

"It needs just one more piece of tape ... right here!" West

Friday, December 24, 2010

Preparing for Christmas

Here in the hen house we have been spending our time getting things ready for Christmas.  Of course that means we are spending our time finding the perfect gifts for all of our friends and family out among the crazy crowds of people; West and Ruby have their own ideas of what would be perfect, however I am thinking some of them would not really be very practical. 
This also means that we have been doing some baking!  We love to bake in this house (West I think the most out of all of us) which means that all of the gifts that we gave to our friends were baked goodies wrapped in a wonderful hand-made drawstring bag. 

West and Ruby pitched in on helping with the bread since this is basically a weekly ritual and so they both pretty much know what they are doing. I figured I could leave them to their own devices in the kneading of the bread dough area, and this way they can say they helped with some of the gifts.  In my opinion, what a great way to show them what Christmas is really about!  West of course had to put his own style into it!

Once the bread was baked (and for some reason this took two rounds since the first batch grew so big the loaves would not fit in the bag) we put them into these great little cloth bags,

and added a little jar of apple pie to each one and proceeded to hand them out.  I love the looks on peoples faces when something is given to them that they were not expecting in the least but you can tell they love it!
These little apple pies were loads of fun to make.  West, of course, helped with these as well and did a fabulous job!  Ruby helped after they were done by stealing one and eating it before I even knew it was missing.  It's a good thing we had two extra!

And since we had four extra loaves of bread that were so big they really could have been about a loaf and a half, we made French Toast with one whole loaf.  It was so good!  I cut nice big pieces and they were so much better than any store bought bread I have ever used.  To be honest, these kind of ruined French Toast made with regular bread from the store.  And then to top it off we put butter and Maple Syrup over the top and then added a cup of coffee or milk on the side!  Man-oh-man, I am quite please that we messed up on the first batch of bread.

And since of course all that baking and wrapping and gift giving was done our house was a bit of a disaster.  So, this afternoon while Ruby was napping West and I cleaned the house from top to bottom.

Tomorrow of course we will be doing some of our own baking, things like snicker-doodles for the rooster, and dough for rolls, and pretzels dipped in almond bark!  We may end up having to clean the house tomorrow as well!

And in amongst all the chaos that is the Christmas season we all needed some peace and restfulness and this song seems to have done the trick for me every time.  Please enjoy, and may it bring you some of your own peace.

From this hen house to yours, Happy Christmas! May it be merry and full of joy!

Monday, December 20, 2010


What have you been doing this week?

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Reusable Gift Wrap

    This year sew mama sew challenged us to help reduce our waste this holiday season by using reusable grocery bags to wrap Christmas presents in.  I thought this was such a good idea!  I thought I would get in on the fun and see if I could get you inspired to do the same.
    The bag I have chosen is so easy anyone can do it; from someone who has The Skills to someone who has no skills.
    Items Needed:

    • an old shirt (preferably something stretchy like a t-shirt, but anything will work fine)
    • thread, any color

    The arms of the shirt need to be cut off so as to make part of the handles so to get the holes the same shape and size I folded the shirt in half thusly.  I then simply cut right inside the seam where the sleeves have been sewn onto the body of the shirt.

    Here it is after the sleeves are gone.  You will need to do the same thing with the neck of the shirt so it will stretch and you can get your items in and out of the bag.

    Once everything is cut turn the shirt inside out and sew a seam along the bottom of the shirt so you will not have a big hole in the bottom of your bag.

    So the edges won't fray you want to sew a seam along them but there is no need to fold it or iron or in other words hem the edges.  Instead just sew a line of thread along all the raw edges.  I used an over-lock stitch but you can also use a zig-zag stitch or any "stretch" stitch.  You wouldn't really want to use a straight stitch as this stitch does not stretch and you want your openings to stretch a bit. 

    And you are all done!  Now wasn't that so easy you can't even believe it?

    And what do you do with the left over pieces that used to be the arms of the shirt?  Well, since this is all about reducing waste you throw them in your scrap basket of course!

    You thought that was going to be long, drawn out, and rather hard didn't you?!  Well, weren't you pleasingly surprised?

    Now you can use this great little package to wrap another package in.  I used ribbon to tie it all up so as not to use any tape that will just be thrown away, and for the tag I cut a rectangle out of an old paper bag I had here and put the initial of the little chicken that will be receiving this particular present and stuck it under the tree.

    Some other sites for a bit more inspiration:

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Ridin' the Trail

    Scarlett, my niece, LOVES horses!  For a long time whenever she saw one she would yell "YeeHaw!" She wanted to ride everyone she saw (even if it was a giant horse on the top of a building).
    We happen to have a great stick horse in West's collection of toys.  It has reigns and makes galloping noises and used to make a neighing sound until that one got broken.  This horse has been ridden many a mile in this house.  He still loves to get out of the barn and go for a run but just doesn't get out as often as he used to, so he sits patiently in his stable until someone decides it would be fun once again to take him out and ride him across that open prairie.
    Last week Scarlett found that old horse in West's closet and once again he was running free for the whole week!  He was having the time of his life ... until Scarlett saw two lonely travelers and decided it would be the kind thing to do to give them a ride to where they were going.

    The trail can be long and dusty after all!
    Poor thing had no idea what he was getting himself into, I am sure he was thankful for his stable and a few oats after that ride.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Military Award

    Do all of you remember back in July when the Rooster decided that he was going to re-enlist for three more years for the Army Reserves (what is now going to be active duty)?  At the time the military was not offering any kind of incentive for people to re-up so what did he get you ask?  He got a bag and a check on the wall at the Reserve Unit that said $0!  Yes, you read that right.  Because he did this, re-uped without an incentive, someone thought it was something special.  I would have to agree with them. 
    This month for Reserves was the Unit's Christmas party so we got to go since we are his family.  Before we all sat down they decided to give out a few promotions and a couple of awards.  One of them was to the Rooster!

    This is a General's Coin, an award that is not given out very often and my husband, the rooster of this hen house, now has one!  This mama hen couldn't be prouder of her rooster!  Way To Go!

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Uncle Rooster!

    This past week we had two lovely guests at our house.  Aunt Elizabeth and her darling daughter Scarlett!  I always love to watch the Rooster with kids, he always seems to enjoy himself immensely and they seem to take to him pretty well too.  Scarlett is two and we all know how hard some adults have to work to make friends with a child that age, especially if you don't see them all the time.  Uncle Rooster has not seen Scarlett for quite awhile so it was interesting and fun to watch her warm up to him rather quickly.  She climbed up onto the couch with him to snuggle into his armpit (Ruby's favorite place to be), wanted him to read her books, they played trains for hours it seemed like and Uncle Rooster loved every minute of it, as did she!  One of the things they did was brush each other's hair; yes she is a little girl and even West loves this activity, much to my enjoyment most of the time as he is usually brushing my hair.
    Then brushing became something a little more ...

     Oh, the fun of getting your hair done!

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    A Workin' Man

    Don't ever let it be said that my son is not a worker!  In fact, my son is one of those kids that HAS to work.  This past week we were at my sister's house for Thanksgiving.  I am looking over these pictures and I am amazed, once again, at my son.  Now, I know he works and works hard but sometimes I forget just how hard he works, it's a case of you see it everyday you kind of forget.

    It actually started the night before Thanksgiving.  I was making a pie crust mix when who should walk in and see me hard at work?  You got it, West! So I handed the reigns over to him and let him have at it.

    It is almost as if he has this sixth sense that he can tell when there is something going on in the kitchen.  Thursday morning he hears Aunt Elizabeth out there working and in he strolls.  She happens to be getting the turkey ready to put into the oven.  He jumped right in and showed us all how it was done.

    Then he is doing the dishes,

    and hauling in a sack of potatoes that I think weighed as much as he does, or darn close anyway!

    He did manage to take a little rest here with Grandpa to read a book or two while waiting for Aunt Mary and Uncle Jeff and of course

    their dog Harley (you do know he is part dog, right?).

    And then for supper one of the nights (since by this point I think we all needed something besides turkey in our systems) he helps Grandma make tortillas.  That darling little girl eating the flour is my niece Scarlett!  Isn't she a cutie?

    So looking over these pictures I am once again reminded of what a great kid I have in this one!  And I would like it to be known - I Love a Workin' Man!!!

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Ruby's New Favorite Song

    I happened to have Pandora on today and this song happened to come on.  Ruby was in the room and the next thing I know we are looking on YouTube to see if we can find it again, and again, and again, and again ...  You get the idea.  We have listened to it so many times at this point that Ruby is in fact starting to get the words and singing with it and I just heard her in the bedroom singing it to herself.  What can I say? The girl has got good taste!