Monday, June 04, 2012

Rainy Day Robotics

We have had several busy weekends in a row and though there are many outdoor projects to be done the weather this past weekend didn't cooperate, forcing us to spend the weekend inside. It actually was kind if nice to just slow down for a few days. 
Kenzie and Dom took the chance to program her Lego
Mindstorm robot that she got for Christmas.  They had previously put it together and done some basic stuff with it, but now it was time to really have fun with it.  It's always neat to see the two of them work things out together. 

This is the final project.  The robot shoots at any obstacles with the little colored balls.  Very Fun!
Kenzie has played around with the programming and now has it shooting only when it sees certain colors.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Busy Busy

We had a fun and busy Memorial Day Weekend.  In fact the whole week leading up to it was busy too.
Dom took the week off so we could catch up on some chores.  We got a lot done even though the weather was less than perfect, with scattered rainshowers throughout the week. He could easily take off another week and we would be just as busy.  There is more trees to cut-up and the coop still needs to be finished-things I can't do by myself.
 Dom's main goal was to get the boat washed and waxed and in the water.  The poor boat was the dirtiest it's ever been and it took several days and dodging rain showers to finally get her in tip top shape.  I am happy to say she is in the water and ready for fun in the sun to the great relief of my husband.
We ended up getting three cookouts over the long weekend one for each day.  Saturday my parents came to help get some more work done on the coop.  After many hours of hard work by Dom and my dad we got the rafters and roof on-Yay!  Afterwards we had some steaks on the grill.
Sunday after spending the day waxing the boat we headed to the Beikmans for a cookout.  After scrubbing the boat all day it was nice to relax with good friends and good food. 
Monday morning saw Dom doing a bit of touch-up on the boat and me doing some baking with Kenzie.  Then we headed to Mark &  Ellen's for a cookout.  More yummy food and good company and Kenzie even learned how to play Bocci Ball!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

 I had a very nice Mother's day this year.  It started with a yummy pancake breakfast, cooked by Dom.
In the afternoon we all took a hike up Blue Job.  The weather was beautiful and the bugs were bearable, well the bugs actually got pretty bad on the way down even though they didn't bother us on the way up.

Kenzie checked out the view with the binoculars and the girls discovered several inchworms.
Becca got a haircut last week-doesn't it look cute?
Kenzie also gave me a really cute card with a very nice note inside and a book she made in school.
The evening was topped off with a steak dinner of grass fed beef from a local farm-Yum!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kenzie Love

It's a well known fact that in this house all the animals love Kenzie and the cat is probably the one that loves her the most.  If the cat is awake, it's likely you will find her looking for some "Kenzie love".

Here she waits patiently while Kenzie does some drawing, hoping to get a nice scratch behind the ears.  Notice how she has strategically placed herself in the pencil box.

And here she is giving me a dirty look for interrupting her Kenzie time.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Coop Raisin'

Work has started on the new coop in preparation of a dozen new chicks arriving in June!

Since my husband was a little reluctant to take the steps towards building a coop and adding to our flock (in the hopes I would just be content with the two hens we had and shut up about more chickens already)  I did what every little girl does and went to my daddy.  Dad planned out the coop and is overseeing the whole operation.  We even got my brother to lend a hand for a day which was really helpful.
               We've still got a ways to go but it is really starting to take shape.

                                    As you can see coop building is a lot of hard work.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012

Guess What?

                                                    CHICKEN BUTT!

So as you can see it seems we had a little visit from a bear the other night.  I hadn't been feeding the birds but I hadn't brought the feeders in either. Now we need new feeders because these are broken. Luckily the pole is still in tact and not bent.  I guess I can thank the rainy weather and soggy ground for that.  At least the chickens helped clean up!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Dishwasher Roulette

I've got a new dishwasher.  The dishes come out clean-no cloudiness, no spots, no stuck on food.  It's quite wonderful.  Here's a picture:

Yes it's my own two hands! What a concept, huh?  Well you know what they say, if you want something done right you've gotta do it yourself.
We are on our second dishwasher in 10 years.  In fact the current one I think we have only had 3 years and it's performance as of late has been very poor.  Now I know that they have removed phosphates from dish detergent which can leave dishes cloudy, I am ok with that because it's better for the environment and I found that white vinegar splashed in the bottom on the washer helps with that. But the issues are more than that. It was like playing dishwasher roulette.  Would the dishes come out clean this time?  Would I end up doing half of them by hand anyway because they weren't clean?    It was just a big waste of water and electricity-It takes the dishwasher and hour and half to wash the dishes. I can have the dishes washed, dried and back in the cabinet in 20 minutes or less.  So the past week I've been washing everything by hand and the dishes have never looked better.  So far I'm not minding the process and I have no desire to spend money on repairs or purchasing a new one.  Dom's offered to take a look at it to see if he can fix it. If he does great, if not, no biggie.  Will I eventually miss the convenience of throwing everything in the dishwasher and walking away?  Maybe, but for now I'm just happy to have clean dishes on the first try!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Plant Swap

My sister-in-law, Ellen had a plant swap this past weekend which I enjoyed. There was a fun group of ladies there.  A plant swap is just what the name implies, guests bring plants to share, either from their garden or purchased, and then everyone takes a turn picking what you want.  Anything to do with gardening can be swapped including magazines, pots, decor etc.  It is a great way to get some new plants or other goodies and also learn something new about gardening too. 
My sister-in-law, being the great hostess that she is, always has some sort of yummy (alcoholic) drink that she has created.  The one she had this time was delicious and despite the fact it had 2 types of rum in it, didn't taste like it had any alcohol in it at all.  That is the best kind of drink in my opinion!  I think she needs to write a book about cocktails or at least blog about her concoctions.
 Anyway, back to the plants, I brought 3 plants-rosemary, levender and columbine.  I made plant stakes with a wine cork that I wrote on with a sharpie. Then I just stuck a bamboo skewer in the cork,  cut it a little shorter and stuck it in each plant.  I also brought some magazines as well as some hand scrub and herbal salve. In return I got 4 new plants for my garden and a cute pot.  Ellen also sent everyone home with pots of herbs that she provided for everyone. Good Times!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Local Goodness

A few weeks ago Dom and I had a chance to go to the Made in NH Expo.  This is where local business get to show their stuff.  I think it's a neat way to discover and support local businesses. So here is my little stash of goodies I bought. 

About a month or so ago I discovered Sap House Meadery at Johnson's Marketplace.  I tried their hopped blueberry maple mead and it was sooo good!  They happened to be at the expo and I got to learn a little bit more about the company and found they try to buy most of their ingredients locally and also sell some products made by other businesses in the area.  One of those products is wildflower honey which is in their meads.  Another product is soaps with scents named after some of their meads -Like Hopped Blueberry Maple!  It smelled so good I had to get some as well as some honey.  I've been on a honey kick lately picking up local honey whenever I see it.
Just Naturals & Co. had lots of neat natural products and their doggy deordorizing spray caught my eye.  It has a pleasant kinda of lemony smell and is supposed to help with ticks and fleas too.  I haven't noticed if it actully helps with the fleas and ticks but it does make the dogs and their bedding smell much better! I also picked up a little first aid kit with an herbal cream and some essential oils.
This company also sells many natural cleaning products and soaps which are used at Sap House Meadery to clean their tasting room.
Spooky New England is a book I picked up from Bondcliff Books.  This company has lots of books specific to the New England region.  Books on hiking, railroads, ghosts, history -pretty much anything to do with the northeast!
There were many more neat businesses at the expo, lots and lots of food-pizza and cupcakes seemed to be the trend.  It was a really good time and I encourage anyone to get out and support your local businesses.  Check out the above businesses by clicking on the links.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tuukka and the Vaccuum

Tuukka doesn't like the vaccuum.  I don't blame him,  I don't like it either-it's too noisy.  But I don't have a choice, with a house full of furry critters and lots of carpet I have to vaccuum.  If I could do it over again I would have all hardwood floors that I could easily (and quietly) sweep and  mop to keep clean. Who knew cleaning spilled milk, dog vomit and mud out of the carpet on a regular basis would get old so quickly?  Obviously not me.
But I digress.  Tuukka hates the vaccuum, but instead of taking a hint from the kids, cat and Boomer who all scatter like cockroaches when the vaccuum comes out, Tuukka chooses to stand two feet in front of me and act like I brought it out just to torture him.  I've tried reasoning with him, telling him to just go wait in another room until I'm done but he doesn't listen.  I've also reminded him (and everyone else) to wipe their paws on the doormat before walking through the rest of the house.  And if you absolutely must vomit please do it on the kitchen floor.  It's a big floor easy enough to do.  Again not listening.  Silly dog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coloring Eggs

It just wouldn't be Easter if we didn't color some eggs.  Becca wasn't all that interested but she did check out what we were doing and joined us for a little while.  I guess she is getting too old for coloring eggs, though in my opinion you are never too old!  The eggs came out all nice and brightly colored and a few eggs even got the glitter treatment.

We spent a nice Easter with Dom's parents and the girls now have enough candy to last until Halloween and they haven't even been to my parents yet!  They  got a bunch of
Cadbury cream eggs which is the one Easter candy I have the hardest time resisting. Oh well, they are popular with everyone in the house so hopefully they will be the first to disappear!

Thursday, April 05, 2012


I think I have mentioned before what one of the chickens main
goals seems to be trying to get in the house.  They stand on
the chairs on the porch and peek in the windows and make
quite a racket at times.  I think they see the comings and goings
of people, dogs and cat and wonder why they aren't allowed
to come in too.  It is very often that the dogs and cat will just stare
through the slider at whomever is in eyesight in the hopes that someone (usually me) will let them in.  The dogs will scratch if
staring doesn't work and even the cat has been known to poke
at the door for results.
The other day I spotted a small figure out of the corner of my eye
and was suprised to find Henrietta staring at the me through the door.  I was suprised because she was sitting there so still and quiet, not making a racket and bobbing her head around as she would normally do while looking through the slider.  In fact, when I first noticed the little figure I thought it was the cat.  I continued to ignore her and she continued to stare at me.  It started to get a little unnerving and I began to wonder if she had observed the other animals get results from staring through the window.  Was she that smart??

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Spring Herbs

With no snow on the ground for weeks and getting a tease of summer with the warm temps a few weeks ago I've had the itch to plant something but it is way to to early to plant things outside.  I  have been reluctant to start any seeds because we have a potential trip planned for the end of the month and I am afraid the seedlings won't survive not being watered for a week.  So I have decided to just buy some when I can plant them outside.
Then I found a recipe that I wanted to try that called for some fresh herbs which I normally would just buy from the grocery store.  Unfortunately you can't always find fresh herbs.  I actually did find everything I needed except for dill.  So now I needed to decide whether to try the recipe without the dill or just hold off making the recipe.  On my way home from the grocery store I decided to stop into home depot and see if they had any herbs.  And they did, though most were kinda sad looking.  I did find some dill, and while I was there also grabbed some basil and rosemary.  I had a beautiful rosemary plant that I'd had for several years that I accidently killed over the winter-so sad. 
I brought the plants home and planted them into some larger pots out on the deck.  The activity attracted the attention of all the animals especially the chickens who thought the little plants looked mighty tasty!  The project took a little longer than it should have do to the fact I had to keep shooing my feathered friends away.  Once I was done I placed them inside in front of the sliders and away from hungry chickens!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Helpful Hint

As I have mentioned before I enjoy the website Pinterest to find all kinds of neat ideas for just about everything.  In fact I spend more time than I should on there but there are just so many cool ideas. Not just ideas but helpful hints too!  One I recently came across was how to clean up the burners on my gas stove.  I am not proud to admit it but there is a lot of burnt on crud on my stovetop.
Many moons ago this wouldn't have been an issue because I couldn't cook and the stove didn't get used but now that I have learned to cook after 10 years they were looking kinda yuck.  No amount of cleaners or scrubbing seemed to help and I had kinda given up on them ever being reasonable clean.  But then I found this tip on Pinterest and figured it was worth a shot.  So you take your dirty stove burners and place them in a ziploc bag with a 1/4 cup of ammonia.  Then seal the bag up nice and tight and stick it outside or in the garage.  My stove burners are really large and didn't fit into a ziploc bag so I put them in a garbage bag instead, then seal it up realy good and let the bag sit overnight.  The fumes from the ammonia loosen up the burnt on gunk and you can wipe them clean in the morning.    Now it still took a little scrubbing on my part to get some of the gunk off and there is still some stuff stuck on them but there is a major improvement!
For lots more helpful hints visit One Good Thing by Jillee tons of good stuff!

This is what the burners looked like before, lots of burnt on black yuckiness.
The little round parts got really clean.

And the larger grates though not completely clean are much, much better!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Shorts last week to winter jackets and a dusting of snow.  I knew last weeks weather wouldn't last but I admit I did a double take first thing this morning when I saw it!  It was just enough to make everything white and it has already melted.  Right now the sun is out but it is sleeting.
In other news the girls are doing great in school -straight A's for Kenzie and All A's and one B for Becca.  Becca also represented her school earlier this month in the state spelling bee and we are extrememly proud of her for the great effort she put in!  In other exciting news my sister-in-law and her husband welcomed a bouncing baby boy into the world on St. Patrick's day.  We all can't wait to meet him in person!
I have been thinking that the blog needs a makeover and have considered just starting a whole new blog, but I think just sticking with this one is the easiest thing to do, so be ready for some changes in the upcoming weeks!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beautiful Weather

 It has been an extremely mild winter with very little snow.  This past week we have been skipped right into Summer weather and though I know it won't last it has been so nice.  Temps in the 70s and yes, even venturing into the 80s.  I don't think I've ever done yard work in March that didn't involve a snow shovel.  Dom was lucky enough to get a day off and we headed off to Blue Job with the dogs to take a little hike.  As you can see from the pictures above no snow to be seen!

Friday, January 13, 2012


 This is a dog that loves the snow.  He loves to run and jump and play in the snow. He likes to bury his face in the snow and roll around like a total goofball.  This is why, even after all the trouble he gets into, I still love him because he makes me laugh.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snow Day!

We had our first snow of the year today and our first official snow day of the school year.  The kids were more than thrilled and employed the wearing pjs inside out and sticking a spoon under their pillows for extra luck the night before.  The snowfall meant they finally got a chance to use the new snow tubes that they got for Christmas.  As you can see they had lots of fun!

Here, Kenzie is actually sitting in the firepit.

 And I am not sure who loves the snow more Tuukka or the kids!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


What to you get when your dog decides to go swimming when the temperatures are below freezing?
A pupsicle of course!  I don't know how either dog can stand swimming when the temperatures are in the 20's but it doesn't seem to stop them and it only takes minutes before the get covered in frost from the freezing temperatures.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Last Day of Winter Vacaton

The last day of vacation was spent at home.  We took down the tree and all the holiday decorations.  This is one of my least favorite chores.  It's so fun to decorate, but putting it all away is such a bummer. We also put off the healthy eating for one more day and made arancini.  Arancini is a rice ball that you fry.  We also put some mozarella and prosciutto inside ours.  Then we pour on a little homemade sauce and yum!
After watching the Winter Classic on TV, we settled in for a game of Dungeons and Dragons with the kids.  This has become one of our favorite winter pastimes.  Creating characters and role playing games really spark the kids imaginations and I enjoy getting in on the fun too!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

A New Year

We rang in the new year quietly at home, watching the Bruins and cooking what we like to refer to as Fried Bounty.   We make a yummy, bad for you dinner as a last hurrah before cracking down in the new year to eat and be more healthy.  This year indulgence included homemade french fries, chicken tenders and mozarella sticks.
We didn't exactly start new years day out super healthy either.  Breakfast included mimosas and cinnamon rolls.

We did counter the bad stuff with a nice little hike with the Beikmans in the afternoon.  The weather was in the mid forties and sunny perfect for a hike.  We still have no snow but sections of the trails were icy.  We returned home to watch the Patriots score 49 unanswered points to clinch home field advantage for the playoffs.  The day ended with a steak dinner.  Dom and I took a dip in the hot tub while the kids entertained themselves with movies and games.  After the hot tub Dom and I settled in to watch Aliens & Cowboys.  All in all it was a really nice beginning to the new year!