Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The wilderness that is our yard by Nicole

I throughly enjoy looking out our windows. These days I almost always see a couple of Mourning Doves, also known as Turtle Doves. I sure love watching this couple. It brings me joy knowing that they are mated for life and the chase each other around. It usually appears as if they are playing some sort of tag or chase, and it's really cute. I was reading about these birds today and found them pretty fascinating. Both mom and dad bird sit on the eggs. The dad bird take the day shift, and the mom bird the night shift. Also, when they are ready to build their nest, the dad bird takes the mom bird to a few different sites and lets her choose which one she wants to build the nest in. Once she chooses, he flies all over gathering nest parts and brings them to the mom bird and she builds the nest. I think it's pretty romantic that the male takes the female to different sites for the nest. I do not however think its romantic that the dad bird stands on the mom birds back while she builds the nest after he has gathered the parts! I mean really, does she really need him standing on her back?!

Another thing we really enjoy through our windows are the lovely sounds and occasional site of the Western Meadowlark. They are Trent's favorite bird and their sound fills his heart with joy as it reminds him of his Grandparents who also loved those beautiful birds. Take 15 seconds to see and hear the beautiful sounds of the Western Meadowlark, here. They have become a favorite of mine as well, and strangely enough reminds me of Trent's grandparents, whom I unfortunately never got to meet.

We did say goodbye to another yard dweller the other day, this one i was not sad to see go. Another yucky, large rodent had decided to live in the dog house that was in the back corner of our yard (don't worry it is REALLY far away from the house and the van!). I had a bit of country girl blood flowing through me on Sunday and was actually excited about hunting down the rat and killing it. Trent and I had this elaborate plan, which required 2 more people, to surround the dog house and trap it and kill it. So I called up the ranch owners son and he and his friend came over. They marched right back to the dog house and killed the rat before Trent had even gotten outside. Trent felt a little silly because he could have killed it himself, but he thought it was going to make a run for it or something. The reason it was so easy to kill was that it was....bleck...nursing babies. GAH! They are also dead, as they would be grown in a few more weeks and you just can't have rats taking over your yard. I am still human though, as I do feel a twinge of sadness when I think about those baby rats dying. Then I remind myself that I am almost certain that rats came after the fall. I really doubt any of those rodents were running around the Garden of Eden. So all in all, I'm very glad to see them go. It appears that there is a male packrat somewhere around here, but probably dwelling some distance away, as these rats can be very territorial and fight each other. We'll be keeping an eye out though, because we certainly don't want another rat around here!

We also wake up to coyotes fighting in our yard sometimes. It can be a little frightening listening to them right outside the window, but they run off soon enough.

And we'll leave you with this: We started a compost pile (which of course, was about 5 feet away from the dog house, which Trent is going to burn) and we've been going back and forth trying to decide of we should have a compost pile or not. We are totally for compost because it is less wasteful and makes sense. BUT, we also feel like we are just feeding the wilderness (coyotes, rodents, gophers, and whatever else lives out there!).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The greatest cookies of all time! by Nicole

I can finally call a recipe completely my own! I did use another recipe whilst making these delicious cookies to help guide me in my measurements, but I think it's fair enough to call this my own!

Nicole's Chocolate Chip Goodness Cookies

1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. peanut butter (I STRONGLY suggest using REAL peanut butter and chunky is delicious!)
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar or sucanat (you CAN replace all the sugar with sucanat if you prefer. I think a little white sugar adds a bit better flavor though)

Melt the regular butter a little in the microwave. I melt it till about half the stick is liquid and the other half is very soft. Mix with peanut butter and sugars till nice and creamy.

Mix in:
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

Once that is all mixed up, add
2 c. flour (white or wheat or half and half) & (you can add 1/4 cup flour if it is still to wet.)
chocolate chips (I never measure and I think people should put in as many or few as they like!)

roll into balls, and flatten slightly and place on a greased cookie sheet.
375 for 10-12 minutes.
If if using wheat flour, perhaps decrease the time a little. The cookies will me more dense with wheat flour as well.
Remove from tray immediately and let cool. Enjoy with a glass of milk (soy, rice, almond, goat or cow...or anything other kind of milk you like).
A single batch usually makes about 25-30 cookies depending on the size dough ball you start with.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Update/slashes by Nicole

I've been on a blogging hiatus which I am choosing to blame mostly on the time change. While we lived in Korea we didn't have the time change and I think I prefer it that way. I don't mind darker/lighter mornings/evenings. I suppose as a farmer, my husband can be thankful for that much more daylight to run the tractors in. Trent has been a planting fool these last few weeks and will continue to be until all those potato fields are full.

I've also been busy this last week with my mom in town. She has done lots around the house and it's been really nice having someone to cook and clean while I run after Ila and/or to run around after Ila while I take a nap. So really my mom had been super busy this last week and I've had a bit of a break, which I must admit was needed! It's okay to admit you need help :)

I wrote a half blog about a book I read at the beginning of last week, but I never finished the blog so I never posted it. I will say though that Trent and I chose a book for each other to read and it has been fun. I'm looking forward to him finishing my choice and discussing it with him. We did this as a part of our "project meaningful" that we mentioned in a previous blog. The book I read was "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe. Perhaps I'll finish my reviewblog about it soon. I chose "The Shack" by William P. Young for Trent to read.

Ila has been talking it up. Her current list of words in her daily vocabulary (well, the ones I can remember) are as follows:
Mama (finally! she doesn't say it often, but she DOES say it!)
Da (that)
dah (dog)
uh oh
ease (please)
ow (this one is sad and cute all at the same time, because she says it when something hurts)
ooh ah (monkey noise)
meow (well, it doesn't sound quite like that, but it is her cat sound)
ears (which is actually "CHEERS!" she LOVES to toast and it's super cute!)
no/no no
I (Ila)
grrr (which is actually more like a airy growling noise that her daddy taught her)
mmm (sound she makes for a kiss)

She babble lots and lots and loves reading to herself too. She is a little talker! It's nice to document all those words she is using because before I wrote them out I sure didn't think she said that much, but I guess she really does! She says other words here and there and every so often says something absolutely perfectly, but then of course she won't repeat it.

There are sure a lot of slashes in this blog. so i'll leave you with this goodnight/good morning/good day/good evening!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cheese head! by Nicole

Sometimes I refer to Ila as "cheese head" because she is so cheesy (in the silly kind of way). Today, she was feeding herself some mac n' cheese while I did the dishes. I had my back turned to her and all was sounding good. She seemed happy, and I could her her chewing and the spoon and bowl making contact. So, when I had finished the dishes and turned around to look at her, I was surprised to see mac n' cheese in her hair. Well, surprised is not the right word really, because she's been known to mash bananas, peas, and crackers in her hair. But I was amused of course, so I took some photos, which she obviously LOVED!

So here are some pictures of our little cheese head! I suppose I should be pretty thankful she had such short hair, since it was hard enough to get this out, I can't imagine what it would have been like with long hair!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good thing we are rechargeable by Nicole

Pizza for breakfast, waffles for dinner. Eating out, eating in. Cooking, reheating. Antibiotics, probiotics. Fried, grilled. Meat, vegetarian. Napping, working. Going out, staying in. Menu planning, winging it. Clean house, mess it up. New desk, new mess. Fighting naps, welcoming naps. Movie, 30 Rock. Diarrhea, diaper rash. Teething, gnawing. Disobedience, discipline. Reading blogs, blogging. Journaling, keeping a diary. Staying up late, getting up early. Potty, diaper. Sewing, photo album filling.

We've been busy lately, and all of the above mentioned things have been going on. It's been a crazy week and I'm CRAVING our routine back. Looks like we have a bit of a crazy day planned for Wednesday, but I am hoping that is the only day the rest of the week we have stuff going on. It's weeks (or months) like this that make me thankful that we get to recharge every night. Some nights we fully recharge, and some nights we don't, but at least we get something!

Our appointment on Wednesday is for another ear check for Ila. She seems to be doing much better with the new antibiotics, in so many ways. We are having almost normal poops, and not nearly so much diaper rash. She is also back to sleeping through the night most nights. Only occasionally waking up in the middle of the night with a soaking wet diaper. Speaking of diapers, we've been letting Ila sit on the toilet lots, but I don't think she gets it yet. The other night she was walking around naked in the bathroom, waiting for her daddy to come and give her a shower and she tried getting into the shower, but couldn't get the door open. I turned my back for a moment and in that moment she peed on the rug in front of the shower, and about 2 feet away from her toilet. Trent said she was probably trying to get into the shower to let it out, but she just didn't make it. I hate missing those opportunities! If only I had read the signs, I would have sat her on the potty! I understand the whole "wait till the child show interest in potty training" idea, but I think kids would show interest much sooner if parents introduce it nice ans early! Why would then be interested in something they are totally unaware of?! So that's my potty training soap box.

At Ila's well check last week she weighed in at 22 pounds & 12 ounces (she was 24 a few weeks ago, but she was fully clothed and diapered, so I guess that counted for 2 pounds. She is 31 inches tall, which means that she has grown over a foot since she was born. Whew, that had to hurt! And if you care about percentiles, she is in the 50th for height and the 40th for weight. The doctor said that she appeared to be a few months ahead in development (she is smart!) and looking healthy, other then her poor little ear :(

Trent is gearing up for planting which starts next Monday. The schedule is supposed to be 5 days a week for a month, but I was told not to hold my breath and count on that! It could turn into 6-7 days a week, but that is fine. They've gotta get those seeds in the ground so the potatoes can grow!

I've been putting photo albums together, which is so much fun. I've also been ordering photos, and I'm all caught up on ordering now. I'm looking forward to getting the 600ish photos I ordered today, and getting them all put away. I've also been hanging frames around the house, which Ila loves. She likes to point to people and have me say their names, or say names and she finds the person. She is great at finding Daddy, Mommy and Ila. We are working on everyone else now that they are in frames too.

Trent and I are still enjoying our daily Bible reading together, and we've also been enjoying the show 30 Rock on many evenings. It's pretty clever and funny, and only 22 minutes an episode, so we find ourselves clicking "view next episode" until way past bedtime! After a really awesome sermon we heard yesterday, and some heartstrings being tugged lately, we are working on making our lives more meaningful, which means less 30 Rock, movies and all that stuff that distracts us from the important things in life. You can tune in at a later date, and I'm sure I'll update you on project meaningful.