Fruit or Art?

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The kids help make this weeks fruit salad.  It’s a true work of art my son said.  Best after school snack you can have.  Keeping it eye appealing helps draw the kids to it and helps moms and dads make a better choice rather than ice cream…Wait…NO.. that’s not true, I am still choosing my ice cream over this, but maybe I will skip the handful of crackers after work tomorrow and have a nice bowl of fruit!!

Chicken Scampi

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This is a favorite at our house and so quick to make.  I never follow a recipe but will list how I make it and as always, you do not need to follow this perfectly.  You can adjust to your taste.

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5-6 thin boneless chicken breasts (or regular pounded thin)
 Approx. 5 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil (or regular)
1/3 cups white wine (any kind you have is fine I use pinot grigio or chardonnay)
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken broth
2-3 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
sprinkle salt/pepper

1 box angel hair pasta (or any pasta of choice)

Heat oil in skillet

place chicken and cook through (about 4 minutes per side if thin)  Remove and cover with tin foil when done

add wine to skillet and use spatula to scrap all the browned bits from skillet

let cook down about 3 minutes and add butter

let cook down again about 3 minutes and add chicken broth and remaining ingredients. 

cook approximately 5 minutes while cooking angel hair pasta. (you can add more broth if it cooks down too much)

Immediately serve pasta with chicken on top and spoonful of sauce from skillet

season with salt/pepper (you can add parmesan cheese also)

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Fast, easy, delicious!!!

 

 

Ride around our Island

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our bridge from the underside

Friday the man of the house announced he had been looking at a boat and decided to buy it. SURPRISE…oh boy.  It’s not that I don’t like boats as we live on an Island surrounded by water and had a boat before we had children, horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs and 34 acres of land.  We enjoyed that boat for 5 wonderful years until there was no time.  How can we fit this into our schedule now??

He has brought up buying a boat for a few years now and being a city boy who adapted to my farm lifestyle I know I must bend to some of his forms of entertainment.  Our children have only been on a boat once so they were more than excited.  How could I be the party pooper pointing out all the negatives?  (not that I didn’t I just did not do it in front of the kids). 

So yesterday after we worked on the gardens and finished about 3/4 of the projects on our to do list we took our maiden voyage.  I have some wonderful pictures to share showing the sights around the Island.  The kids are already waiting to go again today.  And I realized last night this is another way our family can enjoy time together!!

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loading up to go

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71 year old gram with hair flying

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City of Buffalo in distance

 

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Chance waiting to take off

 

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selfies

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cool boat ahead

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amazing what you find on the water

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Our friends Don and Cindy

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cruising

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sunset heading home

 

Waste not Want not

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That is something my Italian grandmother used to always say.  I heard it so many times it is a continual thought in my mind.  About 6 years ago a friend of ours was getting rid of his wicker furniture for a new set.  It was heavy duty and solid.  However it was badly faded.  Grandma’s words echoed through my head and I spoke up “if you decide to get rid of it, let us know”.  We got it a few days later.

I bought a spray paint for wicker furniture ($4.99 USD) that was very close in color to the original.  We then spray painted each piece and picked up some cushions from a great store by us (Pier One).  We have used it on our deck for the past 6 years.  I have touched it up every year and it’s perfect.  Waste not Want not!!

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touched up and drying

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Table before touch up

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After touch up and set up for the summer

Preparing the Gardens

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Chance getting another load of mulch

I like to use recycled newspapers for weed control in my garden.  It breaks down nicely and is easy to rip through to plant your plants in the soil.  My family has done this for generations.  There are always some who immediately say “well aren’t you poisoning yourself with the ink?”.  Years ago yes toxins were in printing ink. Now they are made with iron oxides and non toxic pigments.  Don’t believe me??  Do the research ( http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/chicago_gardener/2007/07/using-newspaper.html )  This is a great article to read to further prove my point.
While spreading the newspaper we then drop mulch (free from our town as they are always looking for people to take the branches they mulch after winter).  The mulch is all different types of wood and helps keep the moisture in the garden.  This is my secret for weed control.  I would much rather sit on the deck having a fresh lemonade and watch my vegetables grow rather than spend hours weeding.  This is not to say some weeding is not needed but definitely not the all day project it would be without the newspaper.

 

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It’s a 3 person job but worth it

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Dad helping spread the mulch

Today is a beautiful day finally and now that the garden is covered we will let it sit for a day and tomorrow I will start the seed planting in the garden.  Eventually our started plants will be put in there as well.  Bring on the summer 🙂
 

Gardening-starting from seed

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taken this morning 5-23

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planted 5-9-14

I love to start most of my plants by seed.  Actually this year the only things I bought were some strawberry plants and 3 orange pepper plants.  I start them in little containers as above and try to start certain things earlier than others.  Brussel Sprouts and pumpkins are a must to start early as they take much longer to grow and corn.  I will continue to let those grow and then I will plant some seeds right in the garden (when it’s dry enough) so the plantings are staggered and maturing at different times. I like to take my time when I get a good crop and can as much as possible.  There’s so much to do once harvesting starts and it makes it much easier when it’s staggered.

It’s also important to stagger your plantings or you will get a huge harvest all at one time.  No one can use and store 15 heads of lettuce at a time.  So I usually plant 6 seeds of lettuce (2 romaine, 2 buttercrisp, 2 boston) to start and then when those are almost to the point of harvesting I will usually start 3 of the same seeds as above and continue the process so we are eating fresh lettuce all summer and feeding our rabbits, goats, and chickens as well.

You can see I planted the seeds above on the 9th of May.  Today on the 23rd (14 days later) most of the plants are well started and tomorrow I may be knee deep in mud but I will be getting my newspapers spread and covered for weed control (cheap and extremely effective) and getting the seeds started of more corn, pumpkins, radishes, kale, beans, cucumbers and peas.  My carrots are being grown in containers as well as my potatoes. They are nicely started also.

It’s busy work but so satisfying knowing we are eating what we worked for!!

Fruit Salad

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This pinkish purple container holds our fruit salad.  I make a new batch every Friday afternoon from Memorial day until the end of October using fruits in season.  I try to mix it up a little each week adding different fruits.  It’s a great snack for the kids to quickly grab when they are busy playing or “starving” waiting on their next meal.  It’s also great to help keep them hydrated during the hot summer months (if we ever get them this year as today it was 55 degrees out). 

Today I made this pretty bowl and because it’s a holiday weekend and we had some neighbors for dinner, I made sure to pick up enough groceries to restock over the weekend.

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Keeping a pretty bowl like this filled will help kids (and others) make a wise food choice when looking for something to snack on.