"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future! "
Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ball Game!

We have been soooo busy these past few days getting ready for the 2011 Invitation Softball Tournament that our Little League is putting on. Fourteen teams are participating in this event whick will last till Tuesday, and so far everything is going great!

Skippy is the League President and I am running the concession and in charge of feeding the kids each evening.  As you can see, My Skippy Man is so willing to help me.  Here he is making the blue raspberry lemonade slushie mix.  (my favorite!)  Do you think he is enjoying himself?  lol  And there in the background, is my precious friend, Mary.  She is such an AMAZING lady with a huge heart and a smile to match.  She does so much for the league and is such a blessing to me.....LOVE YOU, MY FRIEND! 

 Please keep all of those who are involved in this tournament, especially the girls who are playing, in your prayers as our temperature yesterday was in the triple digits and the next few days look to be very hot as well.

I hope you are all having a WONDERFUL WEEKEND!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Watermelon.....YUMMM!

Watermelon Time

Now watermelon time is here.
And when the day is warm and clear
Our uncle thumps the green balloon
And says it's ripe, and very soon
A splash of pink comes into view
We know exactly what to do
We take a bite, we eat and eat
And taste the summer,
Pink and sweet

~Leland B. Jacobs~


I don't know about you, but I just LOVE watermelonIt is by far, my favorite summer yummy!  The sweeter and juicier the better!  I have to say though, I do prefer the seedless kind.  But I have to admit, every once in awhile, it's FUN to have a seed spitting contest!  lol

I found some "cool" watermelon facts and information and thought I would share them with you!

Did you know. . . .Watermelon contains high concentrations of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risks of cancer and other diseases. Watermelon is fat free, nutritionally low in calories and considered an ideal diet food, and is high in energy, making it a great energy boost and a welcome treat on hot summer days!

Watermelon, the fruit that is really a vegetable. Watermelon can be traced back to Africa and is part of the cucumber and squash family.  Early watermelons were mainly rind and seeds. Today's varieties are larger, the flesh sweeter, with fewer smaller seeds and the rind thinner. With its bold red flesh and satisfying crunch, it is perhaps the most refreshing, thirst quenching fruit of all. (I so agree with that)  Watermelon consists of 92% water and 8% sugar, so it is aptly named. Americans eat over 17 lbs of watermelon each year. The largest one on world record (Guinness Book of World Records) weighed 262 pounds.  WOW!  Can you imagine that on your kitchen table?

Watermelon is a perfect addition to a salad, salsa, or cool drink. Top chunks of sweet watermelon with fruit flavored sherbets or sorbets.

Selecting
Choose firm, symmetrical, fruit free of cracks, bruises, soft spots or mold. Ripe watermelon will have a healthy sheen, a dull rind, dried stem, and a buttery yellow underside where it touched the ground. There should be a melon like smell or fragrance. Thump if you must, sound should be dull and hollow. Lift them, weight should be heavy for size.  ***Avoid watermelons that are very hard, white or very pale green in color on the underside, indicating immaturity. An immature watermelon will be slightly acidic.

Storing
Once picked, watermelon will not ripen easily. If unripe, try putting the whole melon in paper bag un-refrigerated. This sometimes works to ripen them. Watermelons can be kept for short periods of time, up to 2 weeks, uncut at room temperature. Wash watermelon with soap and water before cutting. Once cut, package what is not eaten in closed plastic containers or bags and put back in the refrigerator.


Nutritional Facts:
Fat-free - YAY!!
Saturated fat-free
Very low sodium
Cholesterol-free
A good source of vitamin A
High in vitamin C


Homeschool Resource: For a Watermelon Theme/Unit, please click HERE!

For an AWESOME, and I do mean AWESOME site for watermelon recipes, carvings (you are going to LOVE these!), FUN facts and FAQ's, more health and nutrition information, please click HERE!  You won't be disappointed! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Look Out World. . . . . Here We Come!!!

(PLEASE PAUSE PLAYLIST ON SIDEBAR BEFORE VIEWING VIDEO)
(THANK YOU!)

Here We Go. . . . . .

 I went out to check on the eggs this morning since it's the 21st, our anticipated "hatching" day, and guess what I found?
 
Look at the top two eggs. . . . .
  
See that little dark triangle looking thing?  
That's where the little guy/gal is trying to peck their way into the world
 
This one really wants to meet mommy! 

The sound of peeping and tapping should give you a day or a few hours warning that the hatching is about to begin, like seen in the pictures above. It is also the cue for the hen to get out of her brooding funk and start her mothering duties.

Before or after peeping will come pipping, (which is what ours are doing now) as the tapping of the chicks is finally successful enough to break a small hole in the shell. The hatching process has begun. The chick will work its way around the equator of the egg as it expands on that initial hole in a line from where it can eventually emerge. Unfortunately, since this all occurs underneath the hen, it may be very hard for us to see this process or to take pictures.  But don't worry...I am going to give it my best shot!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Last Candling - Good/Bad Eggs

Sunday evening we did our last candling of our eggs.  Here are a few pics or what we saw......

See the little dots? Spots like this may indicate bacterial contamination.  
It is clear to see that there is nothing growing inside this one......
or this one.  We had a third egg that was the same.  These eggs were finally discarded.  I waited as long as I could to make sure there was nothing inside first.
If you look carefully on the left, you cans faintly see the lighter color....
this is the air sac, a GREAT SIGN! 
Same thing here and a lot easier to see
Yeah.....another good one......
WOO HOO! 

If you have been following along, you know that we have tried two other times and have not been successful.  We have attempted with thirteen eggs all together, of which only four will be hatching.  It has truly been an "egg"citing experience!

We are looking at the eggs carefully each day now for signs of pipping (the first signs of hatching) as the estimated date of the 21st draws near.  Once this starts, it can take up to 24 hours for the peep to fully emerge.  OH, I CAN'T WAIT!  I will definitely post pics as things develop!

How many of you have hatched eggs with a broody hen?  How many have used an incubator?  Have you tried both ways?  What were your results? 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Covered Bridge

One day while Grace and the kids and I were out, we decided to stop off at the Historic Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge, in Mt. Jackson. I absolutely LOVE covered bridges, and any chance I have to go to Meem's, I take it!


Here is some information about the bridge that I found on the Virginia website.


One of the best-known covered bridges is the 204-foot single-span Burr arch truss known as Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge in Mount Jackson. The Meem's Bottom Bridge was constructed in 1892-93 from materials cut and quarried nearby for the massive arch supports and stone abutments, which extended 10 feet below the riverbed. It was deeded to the Highway Department in the 1930's in return for assuming its maintenance.

This long span over the North Fork of the river carried traffic for more than 80 years before being burned by vandals on Halloween 1976. After salvaging the original timbers, the bridge was reconstructed and eventually
under-girded with steel beams and concrete piers. The bridge was reopened to traffic in 1979 and is still in operation to date.



If you are ever in this area, this is a great place to stop. With picnic benches and access to the river, you may not want to leave!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Yard Work

On Monday, Kiddo and I were working out in the yard in that awful heat and humidity. Actually, it was cooler down in the back yard in the shade than it was in our house. Well, except for the family room....we have one a/c window unit.

We were clipping branches that were in my way while I mow
then throwing them in the fence row. . . . .
then clipping some more . . . .
I got tired of mowing around this rock pile and NEVER having it look pretty....until now

Before. . . . .
and after...all nice and cleaned up
We are cleaning up some overgrown areas around the pool, cleaning out and weeding the raised beds, and still mowing.  Last year I bought some outdoor material and would like to make some sort of canopy to attach to the front of the house to be able to open it and shade the front porch a bit since that's where the HOT afternoon sun is.

Are you doing any yard work/projects?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bean!


"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth!"
3 John 1:4


Today is a very special day in our family. We are celebrating the birthday of our beautiful daughter, Bean. At 2:05 this afternoon, she will turn 23 years old. OMGosh!!! Is this possible? WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!?!?

How blessed we are that God has entrusted us with three amazing children to love and take care of. It is our responsibility, as parents, to raise them to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, body, and soul. We need to show our love to our children by living out our faith on a daily basis. Thank you, Father, for this awesome privilege!




HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BEAN!

WE LOVE YOU!



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Candling Experience

Last night, My Skippy Man and I went out to the coop and had our first candling experience together. Sounds romantical, huh? lol It was pretty cool, actually. We took our girl out of her nesting box for a little evening snack and a cold drink and while she was chowing down, we took the eggs out, one-by-one and held them over the bright flashlight, cupping our hand at the bottom to direct all the light upwards, toward the egg. Now remember, we are new to this so we still have a lot to learn in this area.

Out of the seven eggs, we saw two that were spotted. I read that this could be due to bacteria contamination, but I am going to check again tomorrow, just to be sure before I get rid of them. If they are bad, they can easily be broken and will STINK to high heaven.....PEE-YEW!!!!    Three of the eggs had a dark band, which could possibly be little peeps.  Then there were two that had air sacks on the ends.  These are DEFINITELY good eggs!  WOO HOO!  Now this is only day 10 and she still has ten-twelve days left, so I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched!  (sorry, I couldn't resist!)  lol

Thank you for stopping by today.  I wish I could say I have some pics for you but blondie here, forgot to charge the batteries for our camera! :> (  I did bring it out to the coop with me though....does that count for something?   I will try again tomorrow evening (the batteries are already charging) and see if I can get some pictures, hopefully making it easier for me to compare them and really give me a better idea of how many little peeps we really have!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Candling

Well, today is the 11th so that means tonight, we will be candling our eggs. (checking to see if there are any little peeps inside)  I am so EGG-cited, I can't stand it! 

This is what we will be looking for. . . . .

 

On the left, you can see the "spider" of veins growing away from the peep. This egg is at 6 days.  The egg on the right is at 2 weeks. You can see the clear spot beneath, with the yolk and peep floating at the top.

I hope most, if not all of them, will look similar to the first picture.  Our hen has been taking such good care of her little charges....I would hate for all her work to go unrewarded!


Hopefully, I will be able to get some good pics tonight.....WISH US LUCK!!


Photos and information courtesy of "Easy Chickens for Beginners"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sugar Cookie Cake

This recipe has already been posted but it is too good not to share again!  


A few years ago I found this recipe for Sugar Cookie Cake while I was visiting the blog of my THL friend, Kelly. I don't have the link to her exact post, but you can visit her by clicking HERE! 

When I read the ingredients, I knew I just HAD to make it. It is really easy and I just love that it has fresh, sweetened fruit in it. The first time I made it, I used the blueberries we had just picked that weekend at the berry farm....OMGoodness! Don't you just wish you could reach into your monitor and take a bite? Mmmmmm....so delicious!


I am hoping to make it again sometime this week as a special dessert for My Skippy Man.  Kiddo's not a fruit person unless it's bananas!   My son-in-law Tang tried this and when he brought his plate into the kitchen he said, "You can never have too much of THAT!"  What an awesome compliment from my son-in-law!

I hope you get a chance to make this dessert.............you won't be disappointed! 

To enlarge the recipe, just click on the picture.


ENJOY!